BA answers and more questions 2

September 12, 2003

The recent discussions about the working of the British Academy raise an issue that many would wish to see addressed. In these days of growing transparency and accountability, it would certainly be helpful for those with an interest in the successful future of such an important body to know how the system ensures that all those with a prima facie case for membership are properly considered.

The academy's prestige could only be enhanced if it were explained to outsiders how inappropriate personal considerations are convincingly eliminated from the selection process and how highly specialised subjects are fairly represented and research in them expertly evaluated.

Perhaps some indication could be given of the procedures that exist for assessing whether one scholar's publication of a single monograph is more significant than another's ten volumes, and for overall external monitoring.

These and similar questions do not appear to be satisfactorily answered in the BA's publications, nor on its website. No doubt its secretary will take steps to promote this debate and to enlighten those who pay the taxes that rightly and properly fund such institutions.

Stefan C. Reif
Professor and fellow of St John's College, Cambridge

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

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns