The main argument against the RAE's shift of focus from prestige journals appears to be organisational and administrative - concerning the practicality of "ensuring that high-quality research is disseminated by whatever means".
Surely the main purpose of academic research is to benefit society. It is the raison d'etre of individual academics and their communities, and they have a responsibility to carry out this task effectively. Replacing this age-old philosophy with practicability concerns is a dangerous path to take. The RAE is important in so many respects (not merely financial) and we should avoid cutting corners to make spurious savings.
We must ensure that approaches to assessing research quality are responsible. If this is not possible, the RAE should be suspended until such processes are in place.
Under no circumstances should we sacrifice integrity and fairness for the sake of practicality.
Royal Holloway, University of London