The universities of Oxford and Cambridge boosted their standing in some research assessment exercise league tables through special treatment, writes Alison Goddard.
Research-active college staff at the universities were included in the RAE, but college staff who were not included were not listed as research-inactive.
The discrepancy means that the universities' standing is artificially boosted in any league table that takes account of the proportion of staff submitted to the RAE.
Neil Gregory, head of research and contracts at the London School of Economics, which appeared second, ahead of Oxford, in these league tables, said: "The LSE is very surprised at the shocking interpretation of the rules. Cambridge may have won the 100 metres. We want to see if it fails the dope test."
The special treatment originates from before responsibility for colleges passed to the funding council.