Why so negative?

September 10, 2015

In the survey referred to in “Modern languages REF results ‘skewed’ by subpanel merger” (News, 27 August), respondents were asked, “Was the change of panel structure a benefit?” To this, 22 respondents said “no” and 22 said “yes”, with one person responding “I don’t know”. So the conclusion in the article that “about half of the 45 scholars who responded would like to see the current structure changed” is correct, but the conclusion “about half of the 45 scholars who responded see the current structure as beneficial” would have been equally appropriate. To use a headline that refers to results having been “skewed” in favour of linguistics, and to use only quotes from those who are negative, seems a disingenuous and unhelpful way of reporting on the survey.

Contrary to the tone of the article, the outcome of the research excellence framework for modern languages and linguistics suggests there is good reason to celebrate the high quality of research in all areas that fall within the sub-panel. In seven precursor research assessment exercise 2008 sub-panels, the percentage of 4* and 3* research identified ranged from 47 per cent to 58 per cent, whereas the same figure for the REF is 72 per cent. It is time to build on the clear international excellence in research identified by the REF in these areas, not least to address challenges relating to recruitment in modern languages as well as the more general issue of building a new public understanding of these subjects.

Kersti Börjars, University of Manchester, chair, subpanel 28
Charles Forsdick, University of Liverpool, deputy chair, subpanel 28

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Related articles

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Head of Visual Arts UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE
Research Officer - Big Data for Better Outcomes LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS & POLITICAL SCIENCE LSE
Lecturer in Oral Microbiology UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest