Do the RAE judges read all the research submitted? They couldn’t if they tried

“… The last RAE (literally the last, in its present form, one understands) departed from previous practice by demanding physical copies, not mere citation, of all submitted items. Lorries duly set out from universities in the four corners of the country, giving a new meaning to the term ‘heavy goods vehicles’. The maths of the operation looked daunting, verging on superhuman. Take my subject area, English. Some 110 departments, with, on average, 25 fulltime or equivalent staff, each required to turn out four samples of published work: say an average of 200 pages per colleague. Roughly half a million pages then, some 30,000 for each of the dozen-and-a-half members of the panel. But, of course, some fields (20th-century literature, for example) generate a great deal more wordage than others …” (more)

[John Sutherland, Mortarboard, 5 March]

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