Richard Reece says in his Editorial (see page 3) that the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) has fulfilled its purpose of driving up research quality, and that there is no need for future exercises. The Director of the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex University has reached a similar conclusion: after three rounds of the RAE there is little scope for further gains in efficiency within university departments and the cost of the exercise exceeds the benefits. But there will continue to be a need for some form of assessment of research. The Funding Councils are accountable for the quality of the work that they support. A lack of periodic assessment could lead to complacency and ossification, and universities established since 1992 may feel that they have not yet had sufficient time to develop top-ranking departments.

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