Saturday, January 24, 2009

RAE 2008 Results

I just noticed that the results of the Research Assessment Exercise for 2008 are out. For Computer Science and Informatics, the league table may be found here. Cambridge tops the chart with Imperial College, Edinburgh and Southampton coming joint second. (In reading the ratings, bear in mind that 4* rating is defined as ‘world leading’ and 3* as ‘internationally excellent’.) You might also want to look at the detailed interpretation of the RAE results offered by Edinburgh, according to which Edinburgh is by far the strongest department in the UK.

All the aforementioned departments host very strong TCS groups.

The ranking for Pure Mathematics sees Cambridge land in fourth place, behind Imperial, Warwick and Oxford. Is this surprising? Honestly, I do not know.
The debate on the RAE is raging in the UK, and I guess that it will go on for some time.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Critical Note on the Abuse of Bibliometric Data

This post is heavily based on an email message I received from Catuscia Palamidessi.

I have recently been informed by Catuscia Palamidessi that the editorial board of the journal Mathematical Structures in Computer Science has put together a critical note on the (ab)use of bibliometric data, which will appear in the issue 19.1 of that journal. The note has been written by the editor in chief, Giuseppe Longo, and subscribed by all the members of the editorial board of that journal.

The note expresses the worries of the scientists in the board about
  • the way the evaluation of research activity is evolving in many countries,
  • the general trend to use criteria purely based on numbers and citation indexes in judging the quality of researchers and
  • the fact that the management of the data used in the numerical evaluations is entrusted to private agencies, whose methodologies and software might be rather dubious or cannot be subjected to scrutiny by the research community.
Did you know that

“The first journal according to ISI (...) is the 195th according to CiteSeer; the 2nd according to ISI does not appear in CiteSeer; the 6th for ISI is 958th for CiteSeer... Conversely, the 1st for CiteSeer (...) is 26th for ISI; the 4th for CiteSeer (...) is 122nd for ISI”
(See this document, in French.) I did not, and the fluctuation in the data is worrying, to say the least.

What is the situation regarding the use of citation indexes and impact factors in your country?

I hope that the readers of this blog will find the note interesting. It certainly gave me some food for thought. Feel free to distribute it as widely as you see fit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Martín Abadi ACM Fellow 2008

I saw from this post that the list of ACM Fellows for 2008 is out. People in the research community I belong to, and in particular the other members of the IFIP WG on Concurrency Theory, will very pleased to see that Martín Abadi is on that list. Martín is honoured for "contributions to computer security and verification of computer systems."

Martín Abadi will be one of the invited speakers for CONCUR 2009.

Congrats to Martín and to all the other ACM fellows for 2008.