Future UK RAEs to be Metrics-Based

Stephen J Bensman notsjb at LSU.EDU
Thu Mar 30 15:32:25 EST 2006

Gee, I consider myself anything but a cultural elitist.  After all, I work
at LSU.  The basic problem of the RAE is that it is biased against an
institution like LSU.  At least under the American system, good researchers
at a place like LSU have an even chance to obtain research funding, and
many take advantage of this system.  That way a good researcher maintains
his independence and advance his career.  This way LSU plays a major role
as a launch pad for up and coming scientists.  The British RAE always
reminded me of the Tsarist system of krugovaia poruka, where all the
peasants of a commune were held liable for communal taxes.  This was the
taxation system of serfdom, causing peasants to be chained to the commune,
stifling individual initiative, thereby causing agricultural stagnation,
and ultimately a violent revolution.  If this makes me a cultural elitist,
then so be it.


Phil Davis <pmd8 at CORNELL.EDU>@LISTSERV.UTK.EDU> on 03/30/2006 02:09:28 PM

Please respond to ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics

Sent by:    ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics

cc:     (bcc: Stephen J Bensman/notsjb/LSU)

Subject:    Re: [SIGMETRICS] Future UK RAEs to be Metrics-Based

Stephen, I wouldn't call you a "capitalist pig" but a willfully blind,
cultural elitist.  In countries where education is wholly (or mostly)
funded by the government -- not just the UK and Europe, but Canada and
others -- the government is concerned about making sure that everyone gets
some modicum of funding.  That does not mean a completely equitable
rationing system, but it ensures a base-level of funding.  In the United
States, this base-level funding often comes from one's own department or
college.  Granted, the capitalist-approach you speak of does reward the
best and greatest, and this Winner-takes-all approach does result in
pioneering research, yet it only rewards the few.

--Phil Davis

Stephen Bensman wrote:

>Speaking as a capitalist pig, the entire RAE system is just another
>of socialists hoisting themselves on their own petards.  Point 1 below
>contains the essence of the problem.  The US has done pioneering work on
>the evaluation of research-doctorate programs but was never silly enough
>allocate research resources on the basis of it.  Luckily because these
>evaluations were usually screwed up in some way.  Allocation of research
>resources was always done on a project-by-project basis by the NSF, NIH,
>and others, with experts in the fields evaluating individual research
>proposals.  The Europeans have a tendency to overplan everything with
>disastrous consequences--the disaster in Eastern Europe just being the
>latest example of it.

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