REF & Research

It is clear that REF (previously RAE) does not enjoy unqualified support from the academic community. Radical reform is required in order to ensure that the HE sector can continue to produce research whose intrinsic quality is measured by intellectual interest and ambition. The reforms should consider:

  • The issue of whether funding is best provided by a block-grant to institutions, guaranteeing their autonomy, rather than by an atomised ‘unit-of-assessment’ method;
  • The abolition of an ‘impact’ agenda as a means of ensuring accountability;
  • The relation of academic research to the general economy and its determinations, in ways that will ensure that research is not governed or directed by political ideology

Relevant commentary and links

Adam Smith, ‘Last-minute scramble on animal legislation’, Research Fortnight, 28 Nov 2012.

‘German sociologists boycott academic rankings’Global Dialogue, Newsletter for the International Sociological Association, Vol 3, Issue 3, 2013.