The RAE encourages "inappropriate behaviour" - such as tactically switching research staff between departments to optimise RAE scores and producing more but shorter articles for publication, rather than less frequent seminal pieces - the study found.
It also contributes to "planning blight" with uncertainty over a department's performance leading to unsure planning for research staffing and investment.
The RAE affects league tables. It puts academics' professional reputation and even their careers at risk. In departments that perform less well than expected, it contributes to low staff morale and problems of retention and recruitment.