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Academics should leave research credentials behind when they move, Stern report says

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 02 August 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4260
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

Some methods used by universities to burnish their research credentials should no longer be permitted within the Research Excellence Framework, a committee chaired by Lord Stern has recommended.1

Under existing rules universities can recruit high ranking academics at the last minute, rather like Premier League football clubs buying top players in the transfer window. These star recruits, sometimes on fractional contracts that involve little real commitment, bring their research excellence scores with them, adding lustre to the universities they join.

In addition, universities can list as many or as few of their staff as they wish, controlling the denominator used in calculating research excellence. By listing only a small number of research high fliers, they can make their research productivity look better than universities that include all or most of their academic staff.

Under Stern’s proposals neither of these devices would be available in …

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