Get in the real world

November 5, 1999

It is refreshing to see that the Department of Trade and Industry is finally coming around to the view law teachers have been advocating for some time ("RAE faces axe", THES, October 29). If the purpose of the research assessment exercise is to produce research that can be "developed commercially to benefit the economy", greater recognition should be given to academics who write for periodicals read by commercially minded people.

The RAE should not be an opportunity for academics to throw flowers at themselves. It should be an exercise in gauging who is benefiting scientists, engineers, architects, surveyors, portfolio managers, movers and shakers, and the other creators or importers of wealth. The constant changes in the law place an obligation on academics to communicate with the real world.

L. W. Blake

Lecturer in law

Department of linguistic and international studies

University of Surrey

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