Fact-check failure

December 1, 2011

Anyone applying for accreditation, a job or even club membership might be expected to have some knowledge of the organisation they want to join.

In the case of "for-profit" providers, we might take last year's report by right-wing thinktank Policy Exchange - Higher Education in the Age of Austerity: The Role of Private Providers - as their application to join the UK academy. ("For-profits be warned - of all the buyout hurdles, the greatest of these may be charity", 10 November.)

On page 6, the report claims that the University of Sheffield was established in the 1960s and that Cardiff University is a former College of Advanced Technology. The credibility of what follows is immediately undermined by such factual errors.

Terence Kealey, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, is listed in the report's acknowledgements. The Radio 4 programme The Museum of Curiosity featured a professor of ignorance at Buckingham; perhaps s/he had a hand in this...

Ian McNay, Professor emeritus, University of Greenwich

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