The research assessment exercise in Hong Kong: Positive and negative consequences

Jan Currie

Abstract


This article reports findings from 39 interviews from two Hong Kong universities and offers a critique of the RAE system. Respondents stated that the main emphasis in counting research productivity was on articles in prestigious international journals. There were many negative comments about this as the main quality indicator. Some respondents mentioned that international journal articles benefited natural and physical scientists more than social scientists and devalued local research and local journals, resulting in a bias towards the West. The more positive comments accepted the RAE, feeling that there was an emphasis on quality not just quantity. In terms of the impact of the RAEs, many participants expressed that the exercises encouraged a great deal more publishing and that academics could fast track their careers by publishing more. However, the negative responses indicated that the RAEs encouraged a glut of publications that were more mediocre with little substance or originality.

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