Research Assessment Exercise
Bibliography. Library science. Information resources
DOAJ:Library and Information Science
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AbstractThis paper reviews the public reception of the Research Assessment Exercise 1996 (RAE) from its announcement in December 1996 to the decline of discussion at end May 1997. A model for diffusion of the RAE is established which distinguishes extra-communal (or exoteric) from intra-communal (or esoteric) media. The different characteristics of each medium and the changing nature of the discussion over time are considered. Different themes are distinguished in the public reception of the RAE: the spatial distribution of research; the organisation of universities; disciplinary differences in understanding; a perceived conflict between research and teaching; the development of a culture of accountability; and analogies with the organisation of professional football. In conclusion, it is suggested that the RAE and its effects can be more fully considered from the perspective of scholarly communication and understandings of the development of knowledge than it has been by previous contributions in information science, which have concentrated on the possibility of more efficient implementation of existing processes. A fundamental responsibility for funding councils is also identified: to promote the overall health of university education and research, while establishing meaningful differentiations between units.