Research and the Academic World

larkhampaper

by Peter Larkham

Mark Reed makes some provocative statements about academics, research, excellence and impact.  He is quite right to emphasise these points at a time when the academic world is changing fast.  We need to be flexible and change, too.  All academics worth their salary would agree that we need to demonstrate the highest possible standards in research quality output, research impact, and teaching.  But not all excel at all three.

Research quality output: this is the older yardstick by which researchers are measured.  Even so, it seems strangely difficult to secure sound and shared assessments of quality; in fact it sometimes seems to depend how an assessor was feeling that morning.  This gives us some concern when we think about how the next government-driven review, the Research Excellence Framework, will review this aspect of excellence.  The process lacks transparency and detailed feedback – both potentially compromise the quality of the process and its outcomes.  We often feel that we can recognise value and excellence, but just what is it that distinguishes the very best – what one assessor once described as “Nobel-level”?  But there aren’t Nobel prizes in the built environment!  So are all disciplines assessing [Read more…]