Letter: RAE old boys' club?

July 20, 2001

The articles on the research assessment exercise submissions ("Union: RAE lies skew funding", THES , June 1; "Staff lose out in bids for RAE cash" THES , July 6) rightly highlight potential anomalies in the data that could affect the outcome and might have a detrimental affect on the careers of young researchers and women.

Another group that might have been excluded is applied researchers. The Department of Trade and Industry published a booklet, Industry, Commerce and the RAE 2001 , stating that industrial research would be acceptable as a submission. How many institutions have taken up this invitation?

Perhaps one of the requirements at the end of this RAE round should be to ask all panels to submit an analysis of the "publication types" and age and sex profiles of the material used in their deliberations, cross-correlated with RAE results. Then we will find out whether or not UK research is being defined as "an old boys' club publishing in esoteric academic journals".

James S. Griffiths
Head, department of geological sciences
University of Plymouth

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