Ranking Research: Rankings as Devices in Higher Education Governance

Julian Hamann


In the last decades, most countries in the western world have introduced some form of centralized quality assessment and control in academia. This paper presents different rankings that are produced from the data of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) / Research Excellence Framework (REF) in the United Kingdom. Among them are rankings produced directly by the RAE/REF, and rankings that media outlets produce drawing on the RAE/REF data. Informed by these case examples, the paper looks into the implications and effects rankings and the associated performance assessments have on higher education institutions, their personnel, and the personnel’s practices. The paper contributes to a discussion on the performativity of rankings as devices in the governance of higher education.


Rankings; Hochschulforschung; Universität; Performativität; Leistung; Bewertung; Governance




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