Go short term on RAE 2

November 16, 2007

The next version of the RAE will measure citations (“New RAE based on citations”, November 9). So if I publish claims that the world is flat, and the moon made of cheese, I will doubtless have this paper cited by thousands of people — all refuting my claims, and even questioning my sanity. They will all be “citations” of my work, though, thereby proving what a good academic I must be.

This constant attempt to quantify and measure is becoming surreal. It does not matter how the RAE is reformed, it is inherently flawed. Academic work cannot be objectively audited or measured, yet the bureaucrats and bean-counters insist on devising unworkable systems of audit and accountability, each of which invariably produces perverse outcomes.

Will this madness ever end, or am I in the academic equivalent of Groundhog Day ?

Pete Dorey , Reader in British politics Cardiff University

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