RAE is like an insidious cancer 1

October 8, 2004

Should those individuals who have accepted chairs of research assessment exercise boards ("Big 15 to tackle RAE gamesters", October 1) not reconsider their positions? Neither they, nor those sufficiently deluded to join them, are prophets.

They cannot predict what research produced over the past few years will prove to be of long-term value, nor can they predict when, where and by whom such valuable research will be done in the next few years.

Indeed, if they could, they would be doing it, not squandering their time on bureaucratic committees.

The boards are not worthless, they are destructive. The RAE is a cancer, metastasising though the academic body, distorting the allocation of resources and deforming academic programmes. No decisions on academic appointments, curriculum developments or research activities can be made without the toxic effects of the phrase "What will be the consequences for our RAE?" poisoning discussion.

R. J. Wootton
Llanbadarn Fawr

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