The research assessment exercise (RAE) forms the basis for determining the funding of higher education institutions in the UK. Monies are distributed according to a range of performance criteria, the most important of which is “research outputs”. Problems to do with publication misconduct, and in particular, issues of justice in attributing authorship, are endemic within the research community. It is here argued that the research assessment exercise currently makes no explicit attempt to address these concerns, and indeed, by focusing attention on research outputs, may actually be fostering such ethical problems.
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Aziz Sheikh, BSc, MBBS, MRCP, MRCGP, DCH, DRCOG, DFFP, is NHS R&D National Primary Care Training Fellow, Department of General Practice & Primary Health Care, Imperial College School of Medicine, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG.
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