“Give Me Your Four Best Papers”: The Privileging Ethos Of Research Accountability Systems From An Aotearoa/new Zealand Perspective

Craig Ashcroft & Richard Smith
Vol 27, Number 1-2, p.44
While much has been written on the topic of research assessment (notably on the Performance-Based Research Fund, PBRF) in the Aotearoa/New Zealand context, this article provides a state of the art (an up to date literature review and details from recent studies in this area) perspective from two scholars researching the effects of the PBRF on academics. One of the authors has recently completed a PhD on this topic (Ashcroft, 2006) and the other has been involved in a current research project on the effects of the PBRF on academic identity (see Billot & Smith, 2008). In this paper, drawing on the work of Foucault’s (1984) conception of governmentality and Taylor’s (1911) thesis on Scientific Management (see Ashcroft, 2006), we argue that the PBRF has intensified the “creation” of research something akin to a production-line in a factory. Furthermore, drawing on a range of recent literature in this area, we argue that academic identity is being shaped by the new regime of research evaluation.