Re: UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) review

From: Jan Velterop <>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 13:26:17 +0000


Thanks for your recap and apologies for not always having the time to read
everything you contribute to the discussions in detail.

A propos of the Research Assessment Exercise, the policy director (Bahram
Bekhradnia) of the Higher Education Funding Council, which carries out the
RAE, recently sent me this response to a question some of our authors are
asking and worrying about the possible significance of a journal's Impact
Factor in the context of the RAE:

"Where an article is published is an irrelevant issue. A top quality piece
of work, in a freely available medium, should get top marks. The issue is
really that many assessment panels use the medium of publication, and in
particular the difficulty of getting accepted after peer review, as a proxy
for quality. But that absolutely does not mean that an academic who chooses
to publish his work in an unorthodox medium should be marked down. At worst
it should mean that the panel will have to take rather more care in
assessing it."

HEFCE clearly recognises the flaws of the RAE methodology used hitherto,
which is the first step towards a more satisfactory assessment system. What
is not clear to me is the question whether your suggested reform will indeed
be saving time and money. It seems to me that just adding Impact Factors of
articles is indeed the shortcut (proxy for quality) that Bahram refers to,
and that anything else will take more effort. I don't pretend to have any
contribution to make to that discussion on efficiency of the assessment
methodology, though.


Received on Mon Nov 25 2002 - 13:26:17 GMT

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