Entering an era of research ranking: Will innovation and diversity survive?

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Abstract

There is something fundamentally absurd about the idea of ranking research. At thesame time, no one can seriously argue that all research is equal in importance andquality. Either way, we are doubtlessly witnessing a dramatic change in themanagement and organisation of research. One aspect of this change is a movetowards the ranking of research. In the United Kingdom, the Research AssessmentExercise (RAE) has been carried out on six occasions, with plans for another. Further,the Australian Government is in the process of introducing the so‐called Excellence inResearch for Australia (ERA). These are just some examples of a widespread trendaffecting research around the world.In this article, we examine, compare and discuss two research ranking schemes; theUK’s RAE, and Australia’s ERA. First, an overview is given of the two schemes. Thisis followed by a comparative part focused on identifying key similarities anddifferences between the schemes. We then move on to analysing the relevance of theindicators of ‘research quality’ used in the schemes. Finally, we explore some of thenegative consequences that may follow research ranking exercises, and propose apossible way forward.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-191
Number of pages19
JournalBond Law Review
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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