Astronomical effort 1

April 9, 2004

The article on Stuart McLeay's work ("Next RAE may demote 5*s", April 2) computes grade-point average (GPA) scores for the next research assessment exercise. It argues that there will be few departments that achieve the GPA needed to be the equivalent of a current 5*.

I presume this is based on the view that outputs will be rated as follows in 2008: 1* = sub-national, 2* = national, 3* = international, 4* = intergalactic. Since there are few intergalactic papers, it is likely that some of the 2001 5* depart-ments will be effectively down-rated.

Paradoxically, the 2008 system could allow departments rated at 4 in 2001 to rise to the equivalent of a 5. This is because we all have longer to produce the outputs for the 2008 RAE. This makes it easier to produce enough papers rated international (3*). That is, some departments rated at 4 in 2001 may become the equivalent of a 5 in 2008.

The combined effects could lead to a much larger group of departments with GPAs at a level equivalent to the old 5 rating. Thus, we could end up with hardly any top-rated departments, many highly rated ones and a smaller number of lower-rated units. This could make funding decisions very interesting indeed.

Mike Pidd Research fellow, UK Advanced Institute for Management Research, Associate dean (research), Lancaster University Management School

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments