The discussion on peer review and the role and scope of the RAE raises interesting questions for an applied scientist. After 15 years as an engineering geologist in industry, publishing one case study paper a year, I re-entered higher education as a lecturer. I discovered that the publishing forums I had been using, namely engineering and geology special publications and specialist conference proceedings, were no longer deemed acceptable as they had low citation ratings.
The reason for this is that they are read and used by my industrial colleagues who rarely have the time to publish their work despite much of it being in the forefront of my subject.
I have been told that if I want to be included in the next RAE I should redirect my research output to journals refereed and cited by academics. As an applied scientist I have to ask myself the purpose of publishing. Is it to join the merry-go-round of esoteric articles read and cited by academic colleagues, or is it to ensure my research is tested by application in the world of commerce, industry and finance?
Jim Griffiths Department of geological sciences University of Plymouth