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09 JUNE 2015

Living with the H-Index: metric assemblages in the contemporary academy

"This paper examines the relationship between metrics, markets and affect in the contemporary UK academy. It argues that the emergence of a particular structure of feeling amongst academics in the last few years has been closely associated with the growth and development of ‘quantified control’. It examines the functioning of a range of metrics: citations; workload models; transparent costing data; research assessments; teaching quality assessments; and commercial university league tables. It argues that these metrics, and others, although still embedded within an audit culture, increasingly function autonomously as a data assemblage able not just to mimic markets but, increasingly, to enact them. It concludes by posing some questions about the possible implications of this for the future of academic practice."

(Roger Burrows, 2012)

Burrows, Roger (2012). "Living with the h-index: Metric assemblages in the contemporary academy". The Sociological Review, 60(2), pp. 355-372. ISSN 0038-0261 [Article] : Goldsmiths Research Online. Available at: http://research.gold.ac.uk/6560/

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TAGS

2012academic identities • academic value • Aidan Kelly • analytic error • Anne Kerr • audit culture • bibliometric measures • bygone era • campus novel • citation-based measures of impact • economic criterion • Frank Parkin • Full Economic Costing (fEC) • Goldsmiths Research Online (GRO) • governmentality • h-index • higher education • incommensurable kinds of value • Key Information Set (KIS)knowledge economylaissez faire capitalismleague tables • magniloquence • managerialism • market economic imperatives • marketization of education • Mary Holmes • metricisationMichel Foucault • monetary value • neoliberal state • neoliberalism • Nick Gane • ordoliberalism • page rank • Paul Wakeling • professionalisation • proletarianisation • public sector • publish or perish • quantified control • quantified measurementquantitative analysis • quantitative criterion • RAEREFRoger Burrows • Ros Gill • Science Citation Index • Scopus • Simon Parker • university life • work stress • workload planning

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
25 JANUARY 2011

Communicating knowledge: How & why UK researchers publish & disseminate their findings

"The motivations that lead researchers to publish in different formats–particularly in scholarly journals–differ significantly across disciplines. Researchers in the sciences are more likely to see publication in a learned journal as a 'natural' means of communication with their desired audience, while their colleagues in engineering, the humanities and the social sciences are more likely to see it as meeting essentially external requirements for research assessment and career advancement.

In these latter disciplines, therefore, the rise of journals is more closely associated with an environment where there is increasing emphasis on measuring, assessing, and evaluating research, its outputs and impact."

(HEFCE on behalf of JISC, UK, 2009)

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TAGS

2009academic journalsassessmentaudience • career advancement • disciplinedisseminationfindingshumanitiesJISC • journal article • knowledgelegitimation • means of communication • measurementperformativityposterposter presentationpublicationpublishingRAEresearch • research assessment • research culture • research evaluation • research impactresearch outputresearcherscholarly journalssciencesocial sciencesUK

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 MAY 2010

Research: a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared...

"The proposals for a new approach to the assessment and funding of research – set out last year in the Higher Education Funding Council for England's consultation paper on the research excellence framework – have sparked more than a few rows.

Much of the conflict has revolved around whether or not the economic and social impact of research should feature in the regime that will replace the research assessment exercise. ...

Our starting point should be to remember that the RAE was deeply flawed. It was dominated by vested interests, was embarrassingly subjective and seriously undervalued those scholars who bridge the worlds of academe and practice.

The REF is, then, a major step forward from the RAE not least because it broadens the definition of research. To suggest, as the REF does, that research is 'a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared' invites all scholars to think afresh about how they communicate their research findings and to whom. ...

Yes, there are challenges in research impact assessment. New thinking, around, say, research 'possibilities' is needed. But once academics recognise that research findings should be 'shared', we have made a significant step forward. By definition we are now discussing research impact or, at least, potential research impact.

However, the intellectual argument relating to research impact, rather like the debate about the expansion of university public engagement activities, goes much deeper than a discussion of how scholars can improve the manner in which they communicate with different audiences – important as this is.

Rather it concerns a reshaping, for some disciplines at least, of the way scholarship is conceived. It heralds a move towards the notion of 'engaged scholarship'. Many UK academics – medics are a classic example – are already actively engaged with stakeholders outside the campus in the process of defining research questions and co–producing new knowledge.

This is not to suggest that all scholars should be 'engaged scholars' – indeed, that would be a bad thing. But the research impact debate can open up the possibility of broadening the definition of scholarship."

(Robin Hambleton, 4 February 2010, Times Higher Education)

TAGS

2010 • a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared • assessing impact • definition • discoveryengaged scholarsengagementenquiryfindingsHEHEFCEHigher Education Funding Council for Englandimpactmeasurement of impactmetricspublishingRAEREFresearchResearch Excellence Frameworkresearch fundingresearch outputscholarshipsharingUK

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
18 NOVEMBER 2009

HEFCE : Research : Research Excellence Framework (REF)

"The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). In previous years, research quality has been assessed periodically through the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

We are currently consulting on proposals for the new framework. We will issue guidance on the REF in 2010 after completing the consultation. The first REF exercise is due to be completed in 2013.

We are working in collaboration with the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Department for Employment and Learning (Northern Ireland), and with a wide range of stakeholders to develop the new framework. Representatives of the four funding councils sit on a steering group which oversees its development.

The REF will focus on three elements, which together reflect the key characteristics of research excellence. These are:

* Outputs: The primary focus of the REF will be to identify excellent research of all kinds. This will be assessed through a process of expert review, informed by citation information in subjects where robust data are available (for example, in medicine and science).

* Impact: Significant additional recognition will be given where researchers build on excellent research to deliver demonstrable benefits to the economy, society, public policy, culture and quality of life. Impacts will be assessed through a case–study approach that will be tested in a pilot exercise.

* Environment: The REF will take account of the quality of the research environment in supporting a continuing flow of excellent research and its effective dissemination and application."

(Higher Education Funding Council for England)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 JULY 2009

The UK Arts and Humanities Research Council definition of research

"The AHRC definition of research, which is primarily concerned with research processes, rather than outputs, specifies four common issues which can be summarised as: the research problem to be addressed; context and field of inquiry; methods employed; and dissemination of results (AHRC, 2003)."

(Kristina Niedderer and Seymour Roworth–Stokes, p.13)

Niedderer, K. and S. Roworth–Stokes. (2007). "The Role and Use of Creative Practice in Research and its Contribution to Knowledge". IASDR International Conference 2007. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

AHRC (2003), The RAE and Research in the Creative & Performing Arts; response to the funding councils review of research assessment, AHRC, Bristol.

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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