REF was just a “massive practical joke” admits UK government

LONDON, UK.  The recent REF exercise, apparently an effort to assess the research excellence of UK universities, was all a “massive practical joke”, the UK government revealed today.

“I can’t believe anyone took it seriously” said Georgie Freeman, UK minister for the pointless.  “I mean, Universities are huge, mult-million-pound endeavours, full of thousands of academics from hundreds of different disciplines, each with rich and complex careers… and we said… we said… *snigger* … we said that we’d assess them all by asking for their four – FOUR?! – best papers from the last five years!  That’s funny right?  Do you get it? Eh?” he finished.

A spokesperson revealed that UK universities were less than impressed:   “We all knew that REF was bollocks, of course.  I mean how can buying in expensive academics at the last minute to boost our score possibly reflect our standing as a research-led university?  But to learn that it was all a joke?  That’s awful.  Are they insane?  We spent hundreds of millions of pounds on this!”

The office for business, entrepreneurship, skills and excellence (OBESE) has recently released new metrics that will be used to measure research excellence in 2018.  These include the number of likes on Facebook, the number of spurious, undefendable patents filed, the number and size of pointless spin-outs that never make any money, the sheer size of the admin department (with extra points for idiotic bureaucracy) and the number of times researchers sell-out to big business in order to get funding.

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