Fwd: RE: UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) review

Subbiah Arunachalam subbiah_a at YAHOO.COM
Sun Nov 24 22:52:47 EST 2002


Here is some interesting evidence on the usefulness of
citation data in research evaluation. Best wishes.



In the recent postings on RAE ratings and
scientometrics, I don't believe
I've seen anyone cite this piece of research:

Andy Smith and Mike Eysenck, "The correlation
between RAE ratings and citation counts in psychology"
(June 2002)

The authors' summary:  We counted the citations
received in one year (1998) by each staff member in
each of 38 university psychology departments in the
United Kingdom. We then averaged these counts across
individuals within each department and correlated the
averages with the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE)
grades awarded to the same departments in 1996 and
2001. The correlations were extremely high (up to
This suggests that whatever the merits and demerits of
the RAE process and citation counting as methods of
evaluating research quality, the two approaches
measure broadly the same thing. Since citation
counting is both more costeffective and more
transparent than the present system and gives
similar results, there is a prima facie case for
incorporating citation counts into the process, either
alone or in conjunction with other measures. Some of
the limitations of citation counting are discussed and
some methods for minimising these are proposed. Many
of the factors that dictate caution in judging
individuals by their citations tend to average out
when whole departments are compared.

Peter Suber, Professor of Philosophy
Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, 47374
Email peters at earlham.edu
Web http://www.earlham.edu/~peters

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