Wednesday, December 12, 2007

RAE bashing

Now that the RAE submissions have been completed (end of last week) there has been a crop of articles in the Times Higher celebrating the RAE's demise. The latest one in today's issue argued that the RAE era coincided with a drop-off in the rate at which Nobel prizes have been awarded to UK academics. This coincidence is attributed (not very convincingly, I thought) to the idea that the RAE stifles creativity.

My department and many others have made a big effort to submit a strong RAE return, and that effort was not just about portraying the department to best advantage, but also about building strong research groups and a great environment. Despite the genuine problems with the RAE, this still looks to me like a more constructive approach that just complaining about it.

Finally, the RAE will be replaced by some other form of assessment, details of which are still rather unclear, but as I mentioned in an earlier post are likely to involve "bibliometrics". I am sure that in a few years time, when we are feeling oppressed and persecuted by its successor, we will look back at the RAE with fond nostalgia.

added 13.12.07: Another article in the same issue of the Times Higher points out This paper a narrative critique of the RAE, which was itself submitted to the RAE.

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