• British political science;
  • journal rankings;
  • publisher rankings;
  • Research Assessment Exercise

Research Highlights and Abstract

The article seeks to make a contribution in the following areas:

  • Departments that submitted a large proportion of books published with a top university press tended to do much better in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), especially in respect of their 4* rating.
  • Departments that submitted large numbers of top-10 journal articles as a proportion of their outputs tended to get higher 4* ratings than departments that submitted only a few.
  • Departments that had a member of staff on the RAE sub-panel saw their 4* rating jump considerably, all other things being equal, suggesting inadequate communication by the sub-panel of its working methods and criteria.
  • The RAE sub-panel's judgements about research quality broadly reflected the judgements of the profession.

This article analyses the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). It demonstrates that the reputations of political science journals and scholarly publishers can explain the performance of institutions submitted to the RAE‘s Politics and International Studies sub-panel, and that there were also clear relationships between types of output and research quality. Outputs in top journals and with top presses were strongly associated with 4* quality and research excellence. Moreover, press and journal reputations appeared to have a greater impact than the type of publication. These findings should encourage policy makers to consider more cost-effective and efficient ways of evaluating research.