Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Pros and Cons of the Metrics System: Letters

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Pros and Cons of the Metrics System: Letters

Article excerpt

The main problem with the research excellence framework is the huge amount of time and money that it consumes, distracting academics from scholarly activities and diverting funds to employ squads of administrators to manage it ("For richer, for poorer", 9 May).

In a recent blog post, I reported an analysis I did showing that you could pretty accurately predict the research assessment exercise's psychology results by taking an H-index (indexes that attempt to measure the productivity and impact of academics' published work) based on departmental addresses.

In the comments on the post, there is further evidence that this is also true for physics. Computing the H-index takes an individual two to three hours, as opposed to the two to three years spent by legions of people working on the REF.

At present, we don't know whether such differences as exist between H- index ratings and RAE panel ratings mean that the latter were better. For both psychology and physics, once you had taken the H-index into account, additional variance in funding levels could be explained by whether there were departmental representatives on the assessment panels. …

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