, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 465-468,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 05 Nov 2009

Richard Whitley, Jochen Gläser (eds.), The Changing Governance of the Sciences. The Advent of Research Evaluation Systems. Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook

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In 2009, leading English research universities are facing cuts in their public research funding that make them reconsider their plans for future investment and quite some of them are taking action for cost cuttings. Universities’ leadership are quoted with statements like “potentially the biggest shift in research fuding policy for 20 years” and “it looks like the end of the road for research concentration” (Time Higher Education, no. 1,877, p. 4). What had happened? In December 2008, the results of the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) had been published, and this RAE provided, for the first time, a ‘research profile’ for each department rather than a single summative score. The RAE thus highlighted not only the ‘critical mass’ of excellent research in leading universities but also small groups or individuals of excellence in departments that, overall, were not rated as excellent. This change in the rules of the game was well-known in advance. What was not well known was