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Preliminary Findings That Can be Used When Assessing the Advantages and Limitations of Using Bibliometric Data in the Assessment of Economics Research

Jonathan Levitt, Mike Thelwall and Charles Oppenheim

(Submission #49)


The 2008 UK Research Assessment Exercises, RAE 2008, is the latest of a series of assessments of research performance in UK universities conducted in 1986, 1989, 1992, 1996, 2001 and 2008. According to the official RAE 2001 Web site, “The main purpose of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) is to enable the higher education funding bodies to distribute public funds for research selectively on the basis of quality” ( In the RAE 2008 participating university departments submitted for peer review assessment up to four research articles per researcher published between 2001 and 2007 and the results for participating departments were published online in December 2008 ( The study described in this presentation compares the RAE 2008 results with bibliometric findings on articles by UK affiliated authors, published between 2001 and 2007, and indexed in the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI). The scope of this proposal is limited by the fact that only the results of the RAE 2009 have been published; we envisage conducting further research after the publication of the list of submissions for the RAE 2008 (scheduled for Spring 2009).

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