The UK RAE is not a helpful guide to anybody in a narrowly focused
system such as Frankie describes below and any attempt to deal with the
problem in the terms imposed by such a system will be very difficult.
In the UK it is widely recognised that disciplines outside Science,
Technology and Medicine (STM) cannot be "measured" by bibliometrics.
That applies to design even before you take into account the fact that
it is an emergent discipline whose research infrastructure is growing
but still not solidly established. A further issue for design is the
eclectic nature of the contexts that it engages with, so I have
publications in the arenas of computer modelling, gerontology and
medical physics, I have a colleague whose work fits into sociology and
marketing, one who works closely with cognitive ergonomists and another
whose interests point to management.
If it is not possible to persuade the relevant authority that emergence
and eclecticism are issues that must be confronted, as well as being
indications of the significance and vitality of design research at
present, then it may be that there is nothing to be done.
There is an analysis of the profile of journal publications in the 2001
UK RAE in our recent review of research in Art Design and Architecture
It is based on an analysis by Judith Mottram and illustrates the problem
very well. The review report also includes a discussion of emergence.
It is also worth noting that the UK Government is asking its Higher
Education Funding Council to introduce bibliometrics to guide
departmental funding for STM disciplines but the Research Councils, who
look after project funding, have just stated (Times Higher Eduication
this week) that there are deep problems with this approach. The metrics
project started out looking at journal rankings but that seems to have
faded away in favour of citation counts. Now cracks are beginning to
show in that approach as well and there is a growing sense that the UK
will have to return to peer review as an expensive by more reliable method.
best wishes from Sheffield
Professor Chris Rust
Head of Art and Design Research Centre
Sheffield Hallam University, S11 8UZ, UK
+44 114 225 2706
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Frankie Ng [ITC] wrote:
> Dear all,
> Recently, our university has announced a position paper that further raised the threshold of research performance/assessment. Besides exhibitions, the refereed academic journals made available for design faculties like myself is extremely limited, i.e., only one B grade design journal based on the Science Citation Index (?!) and the impact factor (all grade C journals are not counted). The threshold announced by our department (that consists of three areas: deisgn, technology and business) for an Assistant Professor to meet withinn a period of 3 years is 3 papers in a B grade journal(s) + success in external competitive research funding (research thresholds for Associate Professor, Professor and Chair Professor are being formulated and to be announced).
> These all sound a bit weird to me, as it literally means that design faculties have to keep submitting papers to one and only one grade B design journal to have their outputs counted to save their contract. Our Visiting Chair Professor (Design) is currently in the UK soliciting journal lists from art and design colleges in the UK that were rated 5 in the last RAE exercise to study their 'legitimate' list of design journals to which their staff have been submitting for developmental purpose. Meanwhile, if you do have a list of design journals that your staff have been using for RAE exercise and the like, I would love to be enlighted.
> Dr Frankie Ng
> Associate Professor / Design Subject Chair
> Institute of Textiles and Clothing
> The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
> Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
> Tel: 27666462
> Fax: 27731432
> Email: [log in to unmask]