10.0654 research assessment (U.K.)

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Tue, 4 Feb 1997 20:41:41 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 654.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Michael Kelly <mhk@LANG.SOTON.AC.UK> (38)
Subject: Re: 10.0653 research assessment (U.K.)

Responding to the way RAE panels regarded humanities computing, I
think the problems are more potential than actual.
I was a member of the European Studies panel, which had a number of
computing issues to consider. I'd distinguish between those
concerning the computing-related activities reported in the contextual documents
(RA5&6), and those concerning the
evaluation of 'published' material declared in the RA2
list of each person's best four publications. The RA5/6 is
essentially supporting material giving an impression of the general
environment for research, and though it might be frustrating to have
only a small space to describe computing activities, the same
difficulty affects all research activities, many of which might also
wish to have more opportunity to set out their achievements. It is up
to the submission writer to decide how much relative prominence to
give to any given area.

The RA2 report does pose several problems, but like all other
publications, it can be accessed and evaluated by competent panel
members or by expert advisors. The problems are bound up with how to
do the evaluating, and involve questions such as:
- who has done the work submitted? - especially since so much IT
related work is highly collaborative, and frequently has several
layers of material nested into each other;
- at what stage is the work considered to be completed, or
alternatively, what state was it in on the census date? - especially
with Web-based materials which are in a constant state of updating.
- where or in what hard/soft-ware environment should the work be

Computing based materials were a very small proportion of what my
panel had to look at, but it may well be that they will assume more
importance in future, and the related issues will require more

Mike Kelly

Prof. Michael Kelly
School of Modern Languages
University of Southampton, U.K.
E-mail: mhk@lang.soton.ac.uk
Fax: +44 1703 593288
Tel: +44 1703 592191 (direct)