A dig at Reading?

May 27, 2005

In your "Fantasy University League" feature (May 20), a list of 21 university departments accompanied the headline "Top scorers play dirty in RAE game".

The reason for listing these departments was never justified in the feature, nor were the criteria for their listed scores explained.

One of the departments cited was archaeology at Reading, which was the only archaeology department outside Oxbridge to have been awarded a 5* in 2001.

Is The Times Higher alleging that Reading archaeologists played dirty?

None of the games listed (or any others) was needed to increase publications or scores: all staff were returned (100 per cent); no star performers were bought in (all of our professors are of the home-grown, internally promoted variety); there were no grey areas. Our 5* was based on the international quality of publications, peer esteem and perhaps an improvement in facilities. The point of the article was unclear; Reading archaeology department plays a fair game.

Roberta Gilchrist. Director of archaeological research Reading University

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