Scandal of neglect

October 1, 2015

Liz Morrish’s article on “forgotten professors” highlights important issues (“Remembering the ‘forgotten professors’”, Opinion, 17 September). The phenomenon of ever-decreasing autonomy afforded to UK academics is not only demeaning and demoralising but also deeply destructive of the otherwise much vaunted “creativity, productivity and impact” that the high priests of human resources and their administrative acolytes go on about.

A second very particular concern identified by the article is that of “legacy”. Not only research teams themselves (carefully assembled and nurtured over many years) but also a vast amount of research “product” are neglected or in effect discarded when senior research-intensive academics leave the institution. This is both ethically and professionally scandalous: very often these research outcomes represent vast amounts of publicly funded work – the “payloads” of the research grants that scholars are constantly exhorted to acquire – and any respectable research-orientated institution should be bound to preserve these and continue to make them available to the scholarly community, as well as the general public.

Richard Beacham
Professor emeritus
King’s College London


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