Shadow doubts

January 3, 1997

SUBJECT ASSOCIATIONS. JUDGEMENTS made by the politics and international studies panel in the research assessment exercise have been largely endorsed by the Political Studies Association shadow panel, but doubts remain about the exercise as a whole.

The shadow panel, chaired by Ian Forbes of Nottingham University, now chairman of the PSA, examined submissions from 12 departments. It agreed with ten of the official verdicts, but felt that Warwick and London Guildhall were underrated.

Professor Forbes said: "We considered London Guildhall for a 4, and eventually rated it as 3a. It is hard to see how a department including at least two researchers of international standing and several more of national quality can have been only a 3b."

The case of Warwick, which declined to 3a from a 4 in 1992, was felt to illustrate a number of underlying problems: "We thought Warwick should have been a 4 and that it has been penalised for investing in the effort to obtain the Economic and Social Research Council Globalisation centre."

He said the PSA was particularly concerned that departments which adopted long-term strategies were losing out: "You cannot expect newly appointed staff to be productive in the same way as someone who has been in post for 20 years, but RAE appears to assess them in the same way. " He said the overall outcomes showed the subject area was in good health.

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