Laurie Taylor Column

February 9, 2007

"University managers have begun indicating to staff whether their research work is sufficiently widely recognised to be submitted for the 2008 research assessment exercise" - The Times Higher, February 2.


Professor Lapping. Media and Cultural Studies.

Well, Lapping. As you know, I'm Jamie Targett, Director of Corporate Affairs, and my task this morning is to give you the report of the university's RAE committee on your research standing. I regret to say that the committee felt that your claim to be "internationally excellent" was rejected on the grounds that the only paper you submitted in this section was published in the Welsh Journal of Media Studies .

It seemed worth a try.

Committee members also noted that your claim to be "nationally excellent" was at least partly based on a research paper called "Developments in Offside Interpretation" published in the English Journal of Sport Decision-Making . After careful investigation, it was established that this was not a refereed journal, as you claimed, but a journal for referees.

It's an easy mistake.

The committee then considered whether your research might be considered "locally excellent". Members were to some extent impressed by the three articles on the proposed new Poppleton Ring Road that appeared in the Poppleton Free Paper but in the end concluded, and I quote, "that the intrinsic value of these was somewhat vitiated by their appearance under the heading 'Advertising Feature' ".

They were widely read.

At that point, the committee considered whether your research work might at least be rated as "domestically excellent". But a phone call to Mrs Lapping revealed that not only was she unaware of any of your research work but was also no longer certain if you were still employed by this university.

She gets forgetful.

In conclusion, the committee felt it inappropriate to include your name in the next RAE submission and placed you in the Solipsist research category.


That means that your work is of absolutely no interest to anyone but yourself. Is that quite clear?

Very clear. And thank you, Professor Lapping.

No, I'm Jamie Targett. You're Professor Lapping.

Of course. Silly of me.

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