Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Education, education, er...

Nick Cohen in The Observer, on new plans to reform higher education funding:

"[The government] plans to replace the judging panels with a computer, which will record the number of times an academic's name is mentioned by his colleagues. The theory is that the best academics receive the greatest number of acknowledgements in footnotes. Let a database identify who these oft-cited professors are and - bingo! - you have found the finest minds of your generation."

Essentially, the question of whether a university department thrives, shrivels or even ceases to exist, will be decided by Google.

9 comments:

Oli said...

So that's Technorati's authority score, more or less?

patroclus said...

Christ, the thought of the future of anything being dictated by its ranking on Technorati makes me feel distinctly unwell. Some days I have a score of 0, but on one glorious day Technorati estimated that the mighty Quinquireme was one of the 100 most popular blogs in the world. I still have a screengrab of that somewhere.

dh said...

Won't work. Databases can be bought.

llewtrah said...

Does it filter out instances when the name is mentioned in a negative context e.g. XYZ was completely wrong about such-and-such? Otherwise the dumbasses will be out there in top ranking.

Billy said...

llewtrah has given me an idea - if everyone slags your blog off, does that boost your technorati ratings.

Rimshot said...

I fear for the future of mankind

Tim Footman said...

Oli/Patroclus: If it's a government scheme, they'll probably slip a seven-figure sum to an outside contractor who'll create a bespoke program that's a bit like Technorati, but worse, if such a thing is possible. And the interface will be a different colour.

So can degrees, Dick.

Do learned journals allow contributors to call each other witless dullards, Llewtrah?

It certainly does, Billy (whose blog is unmitigated arse, btw).

It has a futureto be frightened for, Rimshot?

Spinsterella said...

..and people with bog-common names will all get lots of duplicate mentions.

Tim Footman said...

That's a good point, Spin. I'm sure there's more than one geneticist called Steve Jones. And I'd love to see a good wodge of research funding going to the sometime guitarist for the Sex Pistols.