The hidden costs of research assessment exercises: the curious case of Australia

Posted in Research on March 13th, 2018 by steve

“Research assessment exercises provide the government and wider public with assurance of the quality of university research, with the guiding principles being accountability, transparency, and openness. But is there the same accountability and openness when it comes to the public cost of these large-scale exercises? …” (more)

[Ksenia Sawczak, LSE Impact Blog, 13 March]

Tags: ,

Pervasive form of governance is narrowing and impoverishing the university in New Zealand, the UK and Denmark

Posted in Research on June 26th, 2014 by steve

International“Susan Wright, Bruce Curtis, Lisa Lucas and Susan Robertson provide a basic outline of their working paper on how performance-based research assessment frameworks in different countries operate and govern academic life. They find that assessment methods steer academic effort away from wider purposes of the university …” (more)

[Susan Wright and others, Impact of Social Sciences, 26 June]

Tags: , , ,

Adding Value to Academic Research

Posted in Research on September 5th, 2013 by steve

“… But I think an awful lot of the content of academic research is pretty close to useless. I mean ‘useless’ in the sense that it neither tells us anything new or valuable about nature or humanity, nor does it have any impact on economies, societies or culture …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 4 September]


Research elite warns against obsessive ‘bean-counting’ culture

Posted in Governance and administration, Research on June 24th, 2012 by steve

“The growth of research assessment driven by obsessive measurement and monitoring fosters a global ‘bean-counting culture’ in tertiary education that can detract from the real quality of university research, experts have warned …” (more)

[David Haworth, University World News, 24 June]


More on Academic life

Posted in Governance and administration on February 3rd, 2010 by steve

“Yesterday I was at a meeting where some of the results of an independent study of our research outcomes was presented. I was told I couldn’t see all the results, but nobody told me I couldn’t talk about the results that I did see. The study was carried out by a Dutch company who specialise in this kind of thing. It is to help NUIM focus on those areas where research output is the highest …” (more)

[Science, society, stuff …, 3 February]

Tags: , , , ,

A Review of Research Assessment

Posted in Research on January 18th, 2010 by steve

“Below are two interesting reports which look at the research assessment process and the role the Library can play. Interestingly the pros and cons of a national assessment process can be seen in comparison between the UK and Ireland …” (more)

[Jess Eustace, Read Around Research, 18 January]


Research Assessment: Publish (in high impact journals!) or Perish

Posted in Research on September 23rd, 2009 by steve

Ireland“Have you ever wondered if the lead author in a collaborative paper is the brains behind it, or just lucky enough have his name first alphabetically? Or do you think that some authors have high citation counts simply because so many papers refute their work? Maybe there are even groups of researchers habitually citing each other to boost each other’s rankings? …” (more)

[Jack Hyland, Read Around Research, 23 September]


From where I sit – Measuring the unmeasurable

Posted in Research on July 30th, 2009 by steve

USA“Assessment and impact: these are the new watchwords in higher education. We have assessment indicators in the social sciences, the physical sciences and our business and law schools, which ask: ‘What does this research do? What footprint does it leave? Are its benefits worth the costs?’ Alas, the humanities do not respond well to these questions. One might as well ask the business and finance ends of campus what they contribute to the aesthetic richness of our lives – but, oddly, no one ever does …” (more)

[Michael Bérubé, Times Higher Education, 30 July]

Tags: ,

Call to scrap peer review in hunt for brilliant ideas

Posted in Governance and administration, Research on December 18th, 2008 by steve

“Peer review of academic journal papers should be abolished and teaching-focused lecturers should be encouraged to give up research under proposals seeking to ensure that academe continues to produce ‘paradigm-shifting’ research. The plans are put forward by Donald Gillies, a professor of the philosophy of science and mathematics at University College London, in his new book, How Should Research be Organised? Published this week to coincide with the publication of the results of the 2008 research assessment exercise (RAE), the book argues that the current system, under which more than £1.5 billion a year is distributed to universities, has damaged research quality …” (more)

[Zoe Corbyn, THE, 18 December]

Tags: ,

$1bn spent on the ‘disappointing exercise’ of research performance

Posted in Governance and administration on September 8th, 2008 by steve

“More than $1 billion is spent worldwide in the attempt to measure and plan research but the exercise is cumbersome and the result can be disappointing, according to Jay Katzen of publisher Elsevier. Mr Katzen, visiting Canberra for a research excellence forum last week, said an international survey by his firm showed how difficult it was for universities to get a clear and consistent picture of research performance. “We estimate roughly $US900 million ($1.08 billion) globally is spent on performance measurement and planning activities,” he told the HES. “Although about 60 per cent of the respondents had specific departments that were focused on this activity, it was very manual labour intensive.” Mr Katzen, Elsevier’s Amsterdam-based managing director of academic and government products, said universities struggled to collect research data in a consistent form that would allow comparisons – at an individual, departmental and institutional level – with collaborators and competitors. It’s almost impossible just to figure out how you’re doing,” he said.” (more)

[Bernard Lane. Australian Higher Education, 8 September]