Re: Future UK RAEs to be Metrics-Based

From: Richard Poynder <richard.poynder_at_BTINTERNET.COM>
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 16:42:00 +0100

At 16:17 18/09/2006, you wrote:
>Charles Oppenheim (C.Oppenheim AT (CO) has given me permission to
>post this exchange:
> "However, thank heavens for (4) because, as you rightly point out,
> a metrics based system will sweep all this nonsense aside.
> Professor Charles Oppenheim
> Head
> Department of Information Science
> Loughborough University
> Loughborough
> Leics LE11 3TU

Does not a metrics based system pose some problems for the
humanities? I haven't followed the discussion closely, but I get the
feeling that this is primarily intended as a fix for the sciences.
Certainly that seems to be the view of the AHRC, which responded to
the proposal of using metrics in this way:

"Metrics cannot be the basis of a quality assessment that is to carry
any credibility in the arts and humanities. Indeed, as was made clear
in consultations prior to the 2001 RAE, metrics are only of any value
to a small number of experimental science disciplines. .[There]are
fundamental problems with using bibliometrics and external grant
income as surrogates for quality; the former because the range of
outlets and outcomes is more diverse and the quality of different
outlets is not as hierarchically arranged; the latter because
external income funds only one mode of research with high-quality
research carried out on projects which need no such income.
Additionally, the low volumes of research grant income in arts and
humanities would unfairly skew distribution."

How then is it envisaged that metrics would work in the humanities?

Richard Poynder
Received on Mon Sep 18 2006 - 17:10:20 BST

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