Scholarship stifled by admin

April 23, 1999

David Cannadine's analysis of what is wrong with British universities is on target ("Yale, Harvard, Bloomsbury", THES, April 16). British academia is overwhelmed with administrative demands. Bureaucracy is drowning serious research and scholarship. Researchers often survive and maintain their research credibility by "cloning" their own work - producing different versions of the same paper.

After six years at the University of Cambridge I was promoted to reader. Not only was I asked to take on an amount of administration that would kill my research, I was also told my future promotion to professor depended on doing still more administration. Fortunately I was offered, and accepted, a research chair at the nearby University of Hertfordshire.

Here at last, as Cannadine puts it, my research is no longer being "fitted into those few hours or days when there are no more pressing obligations". It is both creditable and ironic that the new university research chairs are the salvation of serious research.

Geoffrey M. Hodgson

Research professor

University of Hertfordshire

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