A new resource for identifying and assessing the impacts of research

BMC Med. 2015 Jun 24:13:148. doi: 10.1186/s12916-015-0364-x.


The impact case studies submitted by UK Higher Education Institutions to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014 provide a rich resource of text describing impact beyond academia and across all disciplines. Using text mining techniques and qualitative assessment, the 6,679 non-redacted case studies submitted were analysed and the impact described was found to be multidisciplinary, multi-impactful, and multinational. By digging deeper into the data, the health gains from health research in terms of Quality Adjusted Life Years was also estimated. Similar analyses are possible using these case studies, but will require the data to be 're-purposed' from the original intention (i.e., for assessment purposes) for robust analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / trends*
  • Case-Control Studies*
  • Health Resources
  • Humans
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years*