Goodbye to Quality

April 17, 2008

In a pioneering move, Poppleton University announced this week that it was abandoning its traditional concern with high-quality research. Our Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, explained that the decision had been taken following the news from an Open University survey that three in four academics believed the pressure to increase research productivity was a threat to the quality of research.

"We realised", Targett explained to our reporter, Keith Ponting (29), "that this pressure to produce research was not going to go away so we took the next logical step and decided to ease the strain by positively encouraging low-quality research. As soon as academics get accustomed to the notion that they can knock out any old research, then we expect their levels of anxiety to fall."

Targett insisted that this move to low-quality research was in tune with the times. "You only have to look around to see the way the wind is blowing," he insisted. "There are now more low-quality research journals than ever before and more publishers happy to publish volumes of low-quality material. Only recently I attended an academic conference at which every paper was demonstrably low level."

But wouldn't such low-level research fare poorly in the RAE? Targett begged to disagree. "The more one examines the composition of the RAE panels, the more one realises that they contain a growing number of low-level researchers. It won't be long before they form a clear majority. Frankly, low-quality research is the coming thing and Poppleton University is well placed to be in the vanguard of that revolution."


Our deputy head of Student Experience, Nancy Harbinger, has made a forceful response to news that Lancaster University will guarantee undergraduates ten hours' contact with tutors a week. She announced the introduction of "tutorial booths", which would enable eight students at a time to have contact with lecturers. "All the students have to do", she told The Poppletonian, "is to enter the booth, insert a 'contact token', wait until the screen is raised and then enjoy ten minutes of visual contact with the lecturer of their choice."

But would the students be able to communicate with the lecturers? "We're working on that", explained Ms Harbinger. "But all the evidence suggests that students rarely wish to speak in a tutorial session. They simply want to know their tutor is still alive. This exciting new development means that we can increase the possibility of them knowing that by roughly eight hundred per cent."


The Department of Critical Theory regrets to announce that the April 18th staff seminar on "From critical social theory to a social theory of critique: some implications for anti-foundationalism" has been cancelled because the length of the title exceeded our normal poster size. Apologies all round.


Philosopher Citations

Professor D.W. Dingbat 122,864
University of Poppleton

David Hume 114,654
University of Edinburgh

Ludwig Wittgenstein 97,854
University of Cambridge

Friedrich Nietzsche 86,654
University of Basel

Plato 74,451
Academy of Athens


(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting them in a fruit salad.

to read this article.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments