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refimpact provides an API wrapper for the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014 Impact Case Studies Database. You can find more information about this database at

The data may be of interest to you if you are interested in:

Case studies in the database are licenced under a CC-BY 4.0 license. The full license can be found here and a more user-friendly version of the license can be be obtained here.


CRAN (not yet published)

# install.packages("refimpact")




Let's skip the explanations and jump straight in! We'll be using the excellent tibble package by Hadley Wickham to navigate the data_frame.

data <- get_case_studies(UoA = 3)
View(data) # This only works inside RStudio

You will note that a lot of the metadata columns contain nested data structures; this is entirely intentional. Maintaining the nesting keeps the data within its intended context, and you can always separate it out later if you like. Accessing the nested data is straight-forward using the standard tibble subset syntax: [[row, column]].

data[[1, "Continent"]]

Using the double [ notation allows you to access the nested data as a data.frame object - essentially a data.frame within a data_frame. You can still use the double [ syntax for accessing normal values, so it's a good habit to get into.

cat(data[[1, "ImpactDetails"]])

The API also provides fairly useful search functionality, and this is replicated in the refimpact package. You can search on any of the following:

Using these search methods (except phrase) requires a unique integer reference as an argument - the code below shows some functions to find these references:

units <- get_units_of_assessment()
ukprn <- get_institutions()
types <- get_tag_types()
value <- get_tag_values(3) # Takes a tag type reference as an argument

You can use these as arguments to the get_case_studies() function to search for case studies meeting the criteria; multiple conditions are joined with logical AND.

data <- get_case_studies(UoA = 5, UKPRN = 10007774)

You can use the same function to retrieve one or more case studies where you already know the ID. This cannot be used in conjunction with other search arguments.

ex1 <- get_case_studies(ID = 941)
ex2 <- get_case_studies(ID = c(941, 942, 1014))

There is currently no way to download all of the data from the API in a single API call. The most efficient way to collect all of the data is to iterate through the list of all Units of Assessment (from get_units_of_assessment()) and calling get_case_studies() for each value.

More Information

For more information about a specific function you can use the help commands (for example ?get_case_studies).

To raise bug reports and issues, please use the issue tracker in Github.