Academics urged to open up about stress and anxiety over high-stakes research audit

Academic researcher John Banks (not his real name) still has big personal regrets about bowing to pressure from his former university in the run-up to the government’s last high-stakes audit of research.

Universities obsess about the government’s Research Excellence Framework, known as the Ref, with good reason. The four-yearly exercise determines not only where around £2bn a year of public funding will go, but where universities and individual departments will rank in league tables.

Related: I wish we could talk more openly about mental health in academia

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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