Category

Opinion
Opinion Piece by Marina Warner Current policies are imposing business practices on education, and the consequences are blighting the profession, and will continue to inflict ever deeper blight on the people engaged in it – at all levels. The relinquishing of financial support by the state is not accompanied by diminution of authority: indeed the huge...
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By the CDBU Steering Committee If you work in the sciences, you will be all too aware of the journal impact factor (JIF). The requirement for ‘publications in high impact journals’ has become a staple of job advertisements, and the achievement of this goal is emblazoned across research group websites as evidence of gloriousness. The...
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By the CDBU Steering Committee Last Thursday evening, academic staff at the Department of Politics at the University of Surrey received a communication from the department of Human Resources informing them of a proposal for ‘restructuring’ the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences. This was totally unexpected. The proposal in the document would lead to...
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Opinion Piece by Derek Sayer* Editorial Note: In our previous blogpost, we noted that while there was agreement that REF2014 was problematic, there was less agreement about alternatives. To make progress, we need more debate. We hope that this piece by Derek Sayer will stimulate this, and we welcome comments. Please note that comments are...
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Opinion piece by Dorothy Bishop My mother came to England after the war, having met my father when working as a translator for the British Forces in allied-occupied Germany. She’d come from an academic family in Gottingen, and it’s hard to imagine her state of mind in finding herself in Ilford with a husband, a small...
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Opinion piece by Dorothy Bishop* As Fergus Millar noted in a letter to the Times last year, ‘in the modern British university, it is not that funding is sought in order to carry out research, but that research projects are formulated in order to get funding.’ This topsy-turvy logic has become evident in some universities, with...
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Opinion piece by Howard Hotson The new counter-terrorism bill emerging from the Home Office late in 2014 includes a significant piece of ad hoc university legislation: the requirement that universities ban ‘extremists’ from speaking on campus. This proposed legislation seems at first sight completely unconnected to the ‘radical reform’ of higher education funding which issued...
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Opinion Piece by Derek Sayer*  At the behest of universities minister David Willetts, HEFCE established an Independent review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment in April 2014 chaired by James Wilsden. This followed consultations in 2008-9 that played a decisive role in persuading the government to back down on previous plans to replace...
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Opinion piece by Dorothy Bishop, 13 November 2014 Universities have become obsessed with competition: it is no longer enough to do well; you have to demonstrate you are better than the rest. And to do that, you need some kind of metric. Organisations have grown up to meet this need, and to produce league tables...
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