Paleography at King’s College London

January 29, 2010

Distressing news concerning the possible impact of the rapidly approaching financial crisis for universities is announced by Mary Beard.

King’s College London is apparently considering doing away with its Chair in Paleography (the only one in the UK).

The start of the gospel according to John, in the Codex Sinaiticus, most of which is in the British Library.

See the splendid codex sinaiticus website!

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Addendum re Impact

November 15, 2009

There is a good piece in this week’s TLS about impact, by Stefan Collini (on “impact,” cf. my previous post). I particularly like his emphasis on two points:

1) Impact cannot be impact if it “just happens”. If a piece of research gets taken up by the media and leads to a museum exhibition because it happens to be interesting, that’s not good enough: a department has to demonstrate that it deliberately set out to create impact. (This is strange in terms of REF as a scheme for measuring value, and shows it up for what it really is, i.e. a scheme for manipulating behaviour).

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Useless studies and measuring Impact

October 12, 2009

his picture of Cicero reading by Vincenzo Foppa is in the Wallace Collection in London. A print hangs in the library of the Institute of Classical Studies, where I researched my PhD, which (like sport and Trident) has little discernible socio-economic value.

his picture of Cicero reading by Vincenzo Foppa is in the Wallace Collection in London. A print hangs in the library of the Institute of Classical Studies, where I researched my PhD, which (like sport and Trident) has little discernible socio-economic value.


Among the usual rigours of the start of term, UK academics have been looking with dismay into the less immediate future because of the publication of the latest “consultation document” for the REF. What’s the REF? REF is what used to be RAE. RAE stood for “Research Assessment Exercise,” while REF is “Research Excellence Framework.” Under either name, it’s a huge attempt, consuming a lot of time and money, to work out how good different departments in different universities are at research, and the result is supposed to be that the best places are rewarded with lovely research money and (since some of the extrapolations from the data are published) with status. The consultation document explains some of what’s going to change as RAE becomes REF (and although it’s called a “consultation document,” actually the areas where responses are invited mostly concern points of detail: the general directions appears to be fixed).

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