Critique of research assessments

Jan Currie


This article introduces this issue of articles on research assessments and rankings. It focuses on the British Research Assessment Exercises (RAEs) and New Zealand’s Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) and contrasts these with systems that are not tied to funding formulas and emphasise quality enhancement rather than quality assurance. It indicates the negative consequences for individuals, institutions and the professional ethos of universities. It does not deny that there are also benefits gained by institutions that win additional funding through these mechanisms. Research managers benefit by being able to concentrate the efforts of researchers and gain more control over the research enterprise. However, scholarship and creativity are the likely losers in these exercises.

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