Friday, November 09, 2007

Schrödinger's RAE

Schrodinger A report from the vice-chancellors' group Universities UK (UUK) into the use of bibliometrics (the number of research papers published and how often they are cited) as a replacement for the destructive peer-review-based system being used for the current research assessment exercise (RAE 2008) concludes that bibliometrics could end up skewing the data used to judge research quality.

Duh. To measure is to distort. Just ask the cat.

It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a "blurred model" for representing reality. In itself it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks. E.S.

Gráinne Conole: What constitutes good research in e-learning - are there lessons we can draw from the Research Assessment Exercise? ALT-J 2007 15: 183-188

1 comment:

  1. That analogy is one that you often hear in the context of programmers and metrics for measuring programmer productivity (I guess there's more of a history of trying to measure programmer productivity than researcher productivity!).