RA Review: Research Assessment Exercise

29 November 2002

The Society believes that it is crucial to the health of university research for there to be an adequate level of underpinning support, and that the level of this support should be determined by quality. Furthermore, any system for determining quality should be robust, transparent and consistent for all the disciplines, although it needs to take into account the differences across the research spectrum and could well be tailored to the characteristics of particular disciplines.

The two widespread main criticisms of the current arrangements for the RAE are the burden that it places on researchers and the possible distortions it encourages. It is therefore important to explore ways of reducing the burden on the community and a greater use of metrics may help, although there is a need to retain peer review panels. The Society believes that replacing the current grades 1-5* with a profiling system would be a more satisfactory basis for distributing Funding Counil research funds and reduce the pressure on universities.