Arts and impact: with friends like these (3 of 4)

November 18, 2010

I was one of the 13,000 academics who signed the University and College Union petition against "impact" last year. As it happens, my department was then selected to take part in the research excellence framework pilot, and it fell to me to help make our return ("REF impact will be lighter but also more widespread", 11 November). We have just learned that we did "very well".

It is, however, difficult to take much pride in this since I have never in all my career been involved in such a wrong-headed, counter-productive and philistine activity. Impact is, in my experience, simply wrong; not least because making returns squanders thousands of academic hours, leaving the scholars involved unavailable to students despite the fact that they will soon be paying 90 per cent of our wages. They need to be told.

Name and affiliation withheld.

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