Re: Australia's RQF

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 12:04:42 -0500

On Fri, 17 Nov 2006, C.Oppenheim wrote:

> Whilst it is true the UK is dropping peer-assessed RAE in favour of metrics,
> I doubt the reasoning was that it was convinced by the correlation between
> RAE scores and metrics. I think the reason was to reduce the costs and
> burden of the exercise.

I am certain Charles is right. The panel re-reviewing was costly and
burdensome, and it was not scientometric sophistication and prescience
that drove the very sensible decision to scrap the panels for metrics,
but economics and ergonomics. Evidence that it was not scientometric
sagesse is that the panel-scrappers were ready to jump headlong into
the use of prior-funding metrics alone (which in some fields correlate
almost 100% with the panel rankings).

That would have been foolish in the extreme, generating a whopping Matthew
Effect (prior funding can be and is explicitly counted by the panels,
whereas citation-counting has been forbidden!), and reducing the UK
Dual Funding System -- (1) RCUK-based competitive proposals plus (2)
RAE-based top-sliced performance-based funding -- to just the one form
of funding (1). And it certainly would not have even been possible
in all disciplines.

Fortunately, UUK (and others) objected, and it will not be uni-metric
uni-funding: Open Access will allow 1000 metric flowers to bloom,
and rich discipline-specific bouquets will be picked through objective
testing and validation.

    "Metrics" are Plural, Not Singular: Valid Objections From UUK About RAE"

I have no doubt that (with the help of quick-thinkers like Arthur
Sale), Australia too will get into phase with these present and future

Stevan Harnad

> Charles
> Professor Charles Oppenheim
> Head
> Department of Information Science
> Loughborough University
> Loughborough
> Leics LE11 3TU
Received on Fri Nov 17 2006 - 17:14:00 GMT

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