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Reconfiguring Knowledge ProductionChanging Authority Relationships in the Sciences and their Consequences for Intellectual Innovation$
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Richard Whitley, Jochen Gläser, and Lars Engwall

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199590193

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590193.001.0001

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Authority Relations as Condition for, and Outcome of, Shifts in Governance

Authority Relations as Condition for, and Outcome of, Shifts in Governance

The Limited Impact of the UK Research Assessment Exercise on the Biosciences

Chapter:
(p.239) 8 Authority Relations as Condition for, and Outcome of, Shifts in Governance
Source:
Reconfiguring Knowledge Production
Author(s):

Norma Morris

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590193.003.0008

The UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) is a periodic nationwide exercise that assesses the research performance of any university in the UK that opts to put itself forward, and a prime example of a fully institutionalized strong Research Evaluation System. Research infrastructure funds are awarded selectively to universities as a block grant on the basis of the scores achieved by their individual departments — or, more accurately ‘units of assessment’. Although the RAE has been around for nearly thirty years and many areas of its design, operation, and effects have been intensely explored, little attention has been given to its differential impact in different academic fields. This chapter focuses on interactions at the level of research performers (drawing on previously collected empirical data, published articles, and archival sources) to provide a practical illustration of how differences in pre-existing authority relations in different academic fields, particularly natural science and arts/social sciences fields, significantly shaped their intellectual organization and policy-adaptability, and hence how the RAE was perceived and its effects managed within universities.

Keywords:   UK Research Assessment Exercise, research funding, UK universities, research grants, authority relations

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