Panels unlikely to alter scoring

July 7, 2006

Panels set to judge research in the 2008 research assessment exercise look unlikely to introduce additional metrics, writes Anthea Lipsett.

The Government is still consulting on a metrics-based system for allocating research funding after the 2008 RAE.

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, chair of panel A (medicine), said there was no need for any more metrics at this point. "We are already collecting a lot of metrics and they will play a large part.

"Research income streams and income streams by source, studentships, PhD fellowships and support staff will be incorporated into the final scoring system."

David Otley, chair of panel I (economics and business), said: "We are using metrics. We're weighting the main area they are used in - environment, meaning studentships and research income - 20 per cent. It's not totally metrics driven but metrics play a large part in assessing that.

"The Government has been a bit cavalier in implying that we're going over to a new system of metrics as if we don't use them at all. We considered looking at citations and other bibliometrics but, because the databases on which those are based are quite unreliable and incomplete, we ruled them out."

Robert Stout, chair of panel B (health-related research) chair and Nigel Hitchin, chair of panel F (mathematics), also said their panels were unlikely to opt for more metrics.

Ed Hughes, RAE manager at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said: "We're waiting to hear what main panels say when they've had a chance to look at the issues to do with greater use of metrics."

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