Laurie Taylor Column

August 5, 2005

" RAE panels have agreed that 'super-books' will count as two items ", Times Higher, July 29 From: The Office of the Comptometer-General, Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Subject: Counting research items.

There is some concern about what should count as an "item" in the 2008 research assessment exercise. To clarify the situation, I have listed a number of examples of the manner in which subject panels might translate research work into "items".


a. Super-books

Must weigh at least 1kg and contain a minimum of 500 pages. Super-books should cost more than £75 and be unavailable at most good bookshops: count as two items .

b. Standard academic books

No set length or weight but must include two ideas that an average person couldn't think up over a pint: count as one item .

c. Introductory texts

Must contain an opening chapter called "Getting started": count as half an item .


Article in high status refereed journal: one item .

Article in low status refereed journal: half an item .

Lots of articles in non-refereed journals: no items at all .

Slim volume of verse: 8th of an item .

Set of six aphorisms: 12th of an item .

Well-reviewed novel: forget it .

Specialist research publications

a. Music

Whole symphony (four movements): two items .

Opera (three-acts): two items .

Concertos, quartets, sonatas, oratorios: one item each .

Songs and lieders (three-quarters of an hour's worth): half an item .

b. Art

Big oil triptych: two items .

Big oil single painting (with frame): one item .

Medium to large watercolour: half an item .

Drawing and lithographs (set of six): quarter of an item .

I hope this clarifies the situation.
The Comptometer-General

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