As a coordinator of one of the sub-groups evaluating research in Italy’s present VQR (“Evaluation of Research Quality”), I can assure the UK public that our evaluation procedure is alive and well (“Academics in Italy have boycotted assessment. What has it achieved?”, Opinion, 21 April).
The participation rate has dropped by only 3.3 percentage points from the previous VQR (95.3 per cent to 92 per cent). There is a stable 5 per cent of professors who are not publishing anything, so that 8 per cent drops to 3 per cent who are real protesters.
I agree completely with colleagues who are protesting nationwide about salaries and funding, but I do not think that they have chosen the right action. Having scarce governmental funds distributed according to merit and not academic camarillas is a common interest. The present method has some shortcomings but nobody really wants to go back to the past.