Thursday, 21 February 2008

REF to cause reshuffle?

Research undertaken by Cranfield University suggests that the new Research Excellence Framework could cause significant hierachial changes to the order currently generated from the Research Assessment Exercise.

The research council funded exercise took all research submissions for the 2001 RAE and determined citation counts using the methodologies laid out in the REF consultation. The study found that there is a good correlation in six out of 28 subjects, but 13 have a weak correlation and 9 showed no correlation at all. Individual universities' performance was examined in two science subjects (chemistry and a branch of engineering) and large differences were found.

In the in depth chemistry analysis, University of Surrey and Swansea University dropped dramatically, where as Northumbria University showed a great improvement.

HEFCE has dismissed the study and a spokesman is quoted by THES as saying, "It only takes into account only four publications per researcher; it makes no allowance for variation in citation between sub-disciplines; and it presents the outcomes as summary grades rather than quality profiles."

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