Letter: Conflicts of interest

June 8, 2001

In the course of preparing for the latest research assessment exercise and an impending Quality Assurance Agency visit, I have noticed a rather worrying discrepancy between the two concerning conflicts of interest.

QAA subject reviewers are, surely rightly, debarred from assessing an institution if they have recently and unsuccessfully applied for a job there. Indeed, they have to sign a declaration of interests statement to this effect.

By contrast, RAE assessors - as the declaration of interests section of their website makes clear - are not restricted in any such way.

Is the idea that QAA assessors are somehow more likely to bear grudges than are RAE assessors? Why?

Given that the QAA has no external funding implications, while the RAE has significant consequences for funding, it seems bizarre that it is the latter that allows members of the panel to judge institutions towards whom they may feel, perhaps understandably, resentful.

David Owen
Senior lecturer in politics
University of Southampton

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

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