Research board halts 'top-ten' list amid protest

February 4, 2005

The Arts and Humanities Research Board has postponed plans to compile "top-ten" lists of the best academic journals as a way of measuring the sector's research performance, in the face of mass protest, writes Phil Baty.

Stung by furious opposition from across the arts and humanities disciplines, reported in The Times Higher last week, the AHRB has written to department heads, conceding: "It is clear that we need to take more time to discuss, develop and refine the proposal."

The AHRB had started consulting department heads in ten disciplines over plans to create a new research performance measure by counting the contributions of UK academics to an agreed list of the ten most important academic journals in ten fields.

The plan has been pushed by the Government, which wants indicators of the value for money it receives from research bodies. It has met with near universal condemnation.

Scholars said the measure was crude, would kill off emerging journals and damage the careers of new researchers whose work did not make it into a semi-official list of the best journals.

As The Times Higher went to press last week, the AHRB sent a letter to heads scrapping its original deadline for responses, which had been this week.


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