Treason of the intellectuals

October 8, 2009

It is sad and disappointing when vice-chancellors of distinguished universities choose to endorse league tables ("'Table of tables' offers sector clearer picture", 24 September).

Quite apart from the damage they do to any hope of creating a genuinely diverse system - something Times Higher Education elsewhere celebrates - league-table methodologies break most of the scientific rules for which research and the academy supposedly stand. Yet rather than excoriate them as unscientific, vice-chancellors can always be found to endorse them. Isn't there a French phrase, la trahison des clercs, that describes this situation?

Roger Brown, Professor of higher education, Liverpool Hope University.

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