Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Publication Won't Lead Academy out of Technological Death Valley: News

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Publication Won't Lead Academy out of Technological Death Valley: News

Article excerpt

Academy needs 'coherent strategy' to support commercialisation. Elizabeth Gibney reports.

Too much emphasis on academic publication and citation in UK research assessment could have an adverse effect on commercialisation, a former president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology has warned.

Mike Short, vice-president at Telefonica Europe, told a Westminster Higher Education Forum seminar on 14 March that although citations were an important measure from the point of view of academic career development, for industry they were not always so relevant.

Dr Short said that there should be clarity about when making use of citations was necessary, but added that it was also important to realise that the "impact on industry could be adverse if we over-rely on (them)".

"We don't want to, for example, declare research results before patents have perhaps been filed," he said.

In many disciplines within the research excellence framework, the outputs of research - which contribute 65 per cent of overall assessment - are expected to be published academic papers. In 11 of 36 REF discipline subpanels, including clinical medicine and physics, citation data will also inform the assessment of research quality.

Speaking to Times Higher Education after the event, Dr Short welcomed efforts to recognise the "impact" of research in the REF: based on case studies, this will make up 20 per cent of overall assessment in 2014. But he said that metrics other than citations were needed in order to balance incentives, such as whether research had brought products to market, produced jobs or helped transfer skills. …

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