The new RAE results.


They'll be out on Thursday! How exciting (well not really...).

They will be available here:

And according to the THE, a few heads will role:

The grading has if you're at a 5* department, the top grade this time will be 4* and marks will be proportioned across the faculty (e.g., 50% get 4*, 30% 3*, 20% 2* etc.).


Thanks for the article Missspacey. Very interesting.

We all got an e-mail last week reminding us that the results are out on Thursday. Will be interesting to see how it all turns out.


Well, I do think it's quite exciting actually! The atmosphere is really weird at my uni in certain depts, gloomy predictions, stressed faces and illness. It's been good being a research student and not being in a position to have work submitted for this RAE, so it's extremely interesting to watch and learn. I have heard that certain privileged people get special logins to see the results a bit earlier, so things may leak out unofficially in a limited manner for some the day before.


You're right Rubyw, universities actually get access to the results today to give department heads time to prepare their reactions (we were supposed to have a board meeting today but it has been knocked back to next week so out Director can spend time looking through the results). I do think the new ranking system, where depts can't 'hide' weaker staff is going to cause some major problems though!


Absolutely agree Sleepyhead. Am wondering what the repercussions might be for 'underperforming' existing staff at all levels at my place, who might be actually really good course directors or teachers with brilliant students, but with no time or inclination for research, as I suppose I'll be plunged into that job market next year. We've got an all staff meeting on Friday and Xmas party, which might be interesting when people have had a few festive drinks.


I cant say I know too much about how the RAE ratings work, other than it will provide for each dept a percentage figure indicating how many of the staff achieve each quality grade 4*, 3* etc. I was just wondering then, so does that mean you would not receieve indivual feedback on your own particular article submissions-as the result is given in general terms across the dept i.e. you would know know how you had actually fared individually in the ecercise? Also linked to this, does that mean that the dept would only ever be guessing which particular 10% of staff only achieved the 1 or 2* rating given in the results- or would they be given the particular names of staff who fall within each category which would not then be published?? .....Just wondered on this, as it would be interesting to know if we as phd students are soon to be embarking on academic careers ourselves!!:-)


It's quite tense in my department too, because we're in the middle of a huge bust up about the appointment of 2 new chairs. I'm in a School of Agriculture but which has a significant marketing component, and the Business school is trying to poach the marketing staff to boost their own reputation. At the same time my own interdisciplinary research centre (within Agriculture) is being poached by the Humanities faculty. They want to appoint 2 new chairs - one in marketing, one for the research centre - to boost our standing but the funding for these chairs depends on the RAE result... complicated stuff! Needless to say everyone's in a right grump here because they don't know where they're going to be in 6 months time.

I'm hoping that the RAE will stimulate a raft of new job advertisements as well because my husband's looking for lectureships at the moment and there is *nothing* out there.


Maggie, the RAE doesn't assign marks to individual staff, just to percentages of staff; but any University Manager who does not know who is weak shouldn't have their job. Staff who have only produced the minimum amount of publications and mainly minor journal articles are easily spotted - they know before they make the submission.
Heifer, although departments can make projections on the basis of this week's results, the financial decisions are not released until March, so your husband may be waiting a while - although it is expected that jobs will start to appear late January (well, I'm hoping too!!!)


Ah, thanks for that sleepyhead. He's not submitting til Feb so it's not desperately urgent but it is eerily quiet on the job front at the moment!


Just to add, the RAE results should not reflect an individual's performance; if the faculty is very small then they are going to do something different so individual performances cannot be detected. But as you say Sleepyhead, a department manager will know exactly who is pulling in the 4* grades and who isn't. Also, I believe underperformers can simply be kept out of the assessment (which begs the question as to just how accurate these grades will be).

In the Guardian today, it says the Hefce have hinted that there will be a few surprises:

I'm not sure how the departments will arrive at an overrall ranking/score since the single grading has gone.

I'm also looking jobs at the moment, and none have been advertised from months now. I'm hoping many will appear in the New Year. Apparently there will be no additional money though, so for every hiring there will be a firing elsewhere (in theory, at least).


Quote From missspacey:

Also, I believe underperformers can simply be kept out of the assessment (which begs the question as to just how accurate these grades will be)

I believe this is an issue in my uni. The gap between the total headcount of staff and those whose research was actually part of the RAE submission is larger than before. All staff had to submit their research outputs for internal scrutiny ages ago, but lots of it was filtered out before the overall uni submission was put together as it was too weak, so a lot of underperformers have slipped out of sight. Everyone knows internally though, especially when the results are published, as it creates divisions between existing staff, those who were deemed good enough to be included in the RAE and those who weren't, who are notable by their absence.


Really interesting to hear your thoughts on this, especially the belief from some of you that it would be obvious from the ratings which individuals were not up to scratch even though its not supposed to be a reflection of individuals successes or failings. I'm not totally sure if it would be the same in arts/humanities as opposed to science based subjects though, because it can very often be the case, that due to the highly subjective nature of the pieces under consideration, the rating you would achieve would I think very much depend upon: who the reader is, whether they have an interest in that area and therefore whether they "value" the work as a result. So in this case, maybe the departments would only be engaging in a (bitchy behind people's backs!!) speculation game to attempt to figure who who got the high and low ratings in the repsective percentages awarded under the new system!! lol:p


Quote From maggie:

due to the highly subjective nature of the pieces under consideration, the rating you would achieve would I think very much depend upon: who the reader is, whether they have an interest in that area and therefore whether they "value" the work as a result.

I don't know much about the mysterious inner workings of the RAE, but I'm guessing that a big part is the impact factor of the journal a paper is published in, and the number of citations? Perhaps that takes some of the subjectivity out.


Maggie, I think you can work out to some extent how individuals were rated, though the inner workings are a bit mysterious, as Coastman says! If the official uni dept submission omitted people who are employed on permanent academic contracts with a research remit, theoretically they should be doing research and potentially included. If they're not included, this will be obvious when the details are published on the RAE website and they won't be there, so not deemed up to scratch by their senior uni staff, for some reason. I'd have thought that any bitchiness and back biting depends on the internal politics of one's workplace!

You can get an idea of how strong the research is from those included if you plough through the RAE guidelines on how individual work is assessed and rated, I think this might be on their site. It's also likely each uni produces its own guidance for staff on how work is assessed, possibly sent out by the research dept or staff running the RAE data collection at that uni - ours did, it simplifies the RAE guidance to some extent. It varies slightly for different disciplines.

What you'd not see, unless you knew the individuals involved, is how many pieces of research each person actually submitted to their uni for scrutiny in the early stages of the data collection period. I'm in the arts, so an example would be a prolific artist that may have had work exhibited in major galleries across the world, in prestigious shows and represented his country, so the best 4 were chosen from maybe 15 high profile pieces of work. Someone else, not well known in their work, may have shown in 3 small galleries around the UK, maybe also have done a one-off performance at a little gallery in an obscure part of London, published on the internet on their own site instead of with a catalogue with an ISSN number or in a journal, no reviews in the arts press so little impact in the wider art world in comparison. They might still have 4 pieces in the uni's RAE submission, but you can work out that they would be lower rated that the other person due to the official criteria used for assessing work.

That's a huge simplification btw, but just to show how it's a different way of assessing work compared with the journal/citation method that Coastman mentioned for the sciences. I think that the subjective nature of the assessment for the arts/humanities and its inherent problems is one of the things they are grappling with for the new system that will replace the RAE. I do find it interesting though, and it's so useful to learn about at this early stage of our careers.


ooooooooohhhh apparently the results are out at 12.01 on the times higher website! just a few mins... lololol