Re: Future UK RAEs to be Metrics-Based

From: <l.hurtado_at_ED.AC.UK>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2006 09:16:28 +0100

Ah, OK. To my concerns about the feasibility of a metrics-based
approach to assessing research in the Humanities, Stevan's very
informative response is that . . . well, a LOT more work (which = a LOT
of financial resourcing of the work) will be needed. E.g., we'll all
have to scan our publications (or the footnotes at least, hmmm, not
quite sure how to do that) into digital form, and have them mounted on
a univ web site. Well, I'd be happy with all this, but who will do it?
  Given the funding practices in UK universities, it will probably be
me (yes, even UK professors . . . at least in the Humanities, don't
have their own assistants and secretaries to do such work). So,
instead of preparing RAE submission documents, which takes time away
from research, I'll have to scan manually all my publications into some
sort of digital format, and get them mounted on an appropraite site,
which will = clerical work requiring time from research.
Granted, spending money on an IT setup instead of millions on running
RAE committees might be a saving. Don't know. Given the recent
histories of govt IT systems, however, I'm not so sure.

So, essentially, Stevan's enthusiasm for a metrics approach is
dependent on his vision of OA compliance by us all . . . scholars in
all fields, publishers, universities, govts, funding bodies, etc. When
that's all in place, let me know.

Oh, and my reservations about a metrics approach don't = any particular
great enthusiasm for the current RAE approach either. So, if Stevan
could refrain from such non sequiturs, I'd be grateful. It's a nice
debating trick, but we're not into such tricks here, I hope. We're
trying to figure out a sane, economic and relatively efficient way of
trying to make decisions about quality of research. Actually, my own
provisional preference (at least till Stevan fully persuades me
otherwise) is to consider simply requiring researchers to make periodic
grant applications to the funding councils for operating grants, which
effecitively means abolishing the two-envelope approach to
INSTITUTIONAL funding, and restricting RESEARCH funding to researchers.

L. W. Hurtado, Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology
Director of Postgraduate Studies
School of Divinity, New College
University of Edinburgh
Mound Place
Edinburgh, UK. EH1 2LX
Office Phone: (0)131 650 8920. FAX: (0)131 650 7952
Received on Fri Jun 16 2006 - 15:55:30 BST

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