Re: UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) review

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 13:04:27 -0500

Stevan asks for my candidate for the true impact analysis:
I agree with him that it should be scientometric, and like him,
I think the remedy for the currently practiced bad scientometrics to be better scientometrics..
The particular improvement which is necessary is a way of measuring the influence not on the next years' papers, but on the next generations'. Thus I question the use of the current measurements for evaluating immediate research productivity for evaluating the actual value of the research.

Stevan also suggests that librarians are not qualified for evaluating departments, just for evaluating journals. I question whether the members of any scientific field are qualified for judging quality in other scientific fields, except by the use of common sense and of objective measures, such as scientometric ones. I think librarians and other information science specialists are at least as qualified in both these aspects as others are. I further wonder whether the members of any scientific field are not in practice disqualified for evaluating departments in their own field by the inevitable effects of the old boy network. The one field which I do not trust information scientists to evaluate is information science.

Not that this should disprove the argument, but I will mention that the proposal to evaluate the total scientific ouput of a group, good or bad, rather than just the best, will be eagerly supported by the publishers of the second-rate journals in which the lesser work appears.

Dr. David Goodman
Princeton University Library

Received on Thu Nov 21 2002 - 18:04:27 GMT

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