Thursday, 1 April 2010

The Sweeney Speaks: Citations, Timing, Impact

Following the publication of the response to the REF Consultation last week, David Sweeney, Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Director of Research at HEFCE, has been speaking frankly to the Times Higher. He told the magazine that HEFCE was 'edging out' of plans to use citations. He said that the costs to institutions of including such a measure could be high. He added that the council had also received an analysis suggesting that their use could disadvantage female staff.
'Equal opportunities is a problem that concerns us, so we are very nervous about the use of citations,' he explained. This did not mean that citation data were being ruled out once and for all, he said, but 'we will be discussing it closely with the panels before we give it any significant role'.
In addition he suggested that it was very likely that the REF assessment process would be delayed by a year. This would push the REF assessment to 2014 and REF-based funding to 2015.
Finally, he robustly defended the inclusion of impact in the face of criticism from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee last month. 'We will test the methodology and if it doesn't prove adequate then we will reconsider, but we remain confident that the issues can be surmounted,' Mr Sweeney said.
The full article's available here.

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