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Hmmmm, replacing RAE rating by Technorati rating would just result in a different sort of gaming surely? Being able to choose between submitting either your quota of papers or a blog for the RAE would be interesting though. You'd be battling against the fact that in many discipliness journals (or in reality, preprints and seminars based on research papers) are still very much how research is communicated.

The core problem is how you evaluate quality of research which is a very subjective and usually specialist thing. There definitely ought to be some way of doing peer review without all the trappings and protocols of journals though.


Hi Juliette
I wasn't very clear - I wasn't suggesting that we do replace RAE with Technorati, because as you say that would lead to the same problem.
I suggested there were two complaints you might make against the RAE:
i) that it is okay but measures the wrong things.
ii) that it is fundamentally a pointless (and damaging) exercise.
I think I've come round to ii), ie any such process is flawed. Particularly if one takes an 'everything is miscellaneous' view (I know, I've been applying this to everything recently).
What is the point of the RAE? You could argue that it gives us a reliable, standardised measure of someone's research quality. In Wienberger's analysis this is like second order order, ie separated metadata from the actual data (the researcher's output). But in a highly connected world, everything is metadata. I don't need to know how other people rank someone's research, I can find it easily and make my own assessment.

Juliette White

I think the problem is maybe actually with the current funding model. Once you have that, you have to have some means of measuring whatever you regard as research quality in order ot make decisions about who gets how much money. If money wasn't involved, everybody could just form their own opinions as you say.

It's the same reason I guess why job ads often ask for qualifications - it's because the person making the decision either doesn't have expertise or time to make their own complete judgment. And if you want to be fair, you've got to treat people who aren't friends with the same folk as you on the same terms as those who are. Most private companies don't admittedly, but as a public sector organisation you have much more responsibility in that direction.

Anything like the RAE where you quantify qualitative information is obviously silly though, but that hasn't stopped people marking students' work for however many years!

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