Stifling innovation

June 25, 2015

Any perceived lack of innovation in British universities is not a result of “conservatism” but of the one surefire thing designed to stifle new ideas (“V-cs wanting to lead from the front are frustrated by a lack of followers”, News, 18 June). This is a managerialist culture in which academics’ spare research funds are stolen by the finance department to prop up a bloated administration, thereby removing the opportunities to do left-field experiments that alone can initiate 4* findings. And the assumption that an imperfect “correlation” (actually covariation) between citations and the amount of 4* outputs means that the former is a worse guide to quality assumes that the latter is an independent variable. It is not (“Can metrics really replace reviewers in REF?”, Research Intelligence, 18 June).

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