Replacing the current RAE with citation counting is quick, cheap and simple. But only if whole universities are evaluated, instead of specialist cost centres.
In a paper published in Science and Public Policy (www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton/sapp.pdf) we generated a top ten of UK universities based on total five-year citations in Web of Science: Cambridge, Oxford, University College London, Imperial College London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow and King's College London. Such an RAE would intrinsically focus on science and the quantitative social sciences (such as economics). This seems appropriate, since it is unnecessary to have one for the arts and humanities.
Whole university citations are a well-validated research performance measure, with the great advantages of transparency and objectivity.
Bruce G. Charlton
Editor-in-chief Medical Hypotheses, and
reader in evolutionary psychiatry