Nick Cohen has a provocatively titled piece in today’s Observer, “No one wins in modern-day academia”, examining the shortcomings of the .
If you’re a UK academic, you’ll know all about the RAE which, as it says on the tin, is an exercise to assess the quality of a department’s research and consequently determine future levels of government funding. My experience with this so far has been quite limited. In my old department, we measured success through policy influence, not journal publications, and my current work is just starting to yield results. But even if you are an active participant in the RAE, the question still remains: is this really the best way to assess our overall effectiveness and success? Academic life is about more than just research: we are also teachers, administrators and professional community members.
So setting aside the official funding role of assessment for the moment, I’d like to ask an open question. How do you evaluate your own success as an academic? (And as a relevant corollary, how does this affect how you choose to spend your time?)