A new business opportunity seems to have arisen for unscrupulous publishers wanting to make the most of the next research assessment exercise. The exercise will take account of articles and books published by the end of next April.
But what does "published" mean? It turns out that the Higher Education Funding Council is not standing on ceremony by insisting that a book be in existence on the due date. But books that are to be counted must have been issued with an International Standard Book Number. Publishers, of course, have blocks of ISBNs allocated to them. Perhaps a critical shortage will arise next spring, and readers would be well advised to buy ISBN futures as soon as possible.