Question time is overdue

August 30, 2012

It is a matter of common knowledge that the Higher Education Funding Council for England has set up a panel to advise it on the future of special factor funding for the institutes of the University of London's School of Advanced Study, funding hitherto justified by their importance for research in a national and international context. However, a diligent search has revealed no evidence that the views of users in the UK or elsewhere are being sought.

Libraries such as the Warburg Institute Library are crucial for domestic and foreign scholars, including Parisian ones. It seems extraordinary that Hefce is not collecting external evidence on the two essential questions: which facilities do users value? In what framework can limited resources be spent best?

Jean-Louis Ferrary, Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris

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