Sunday, 29 January 2012

Predicting the REF 2014 results for law!

This post should be of interest for legal academics in the UK but please don’t take it too seriously…

My first idea was that there is a time trend in the performance of law schools in the previous four RAEs which is likely to continue in the REF 2014. Thus, I took the RAE ranks from 1992, 1996, 2001 and 2008 (available here; here; here, already ranked here; and here, already ranked here), calculated the linear time trends for six more years (ie I regressed the time trend on the ranks), and added them to the 2008 ranks. The predicted result would be: (1) Kent, (2) Durham, (3) LSE, (4) UCL, (5) Oxford, (6) Reading, (7) Cardiff, (8) Ulster, (9) Nottingham, (10) Queen’s Belfast, (11) Cambridge! Thus, in such a ranking, law schools which did not perform well in the earlier RAEs but then rose in 2008 (notably, Kent, Reading, Ulster) are expected to further improve significantly. But, honestly, the extent seems to me a bit too far-fetched.

The opposite approach would take the view that the quality of institutions is fairly stable and that differences between the four RAEs are just ‘random’. Thus, such a view would simply calculate the mean of the RAE ranks from 1992, 1996, 2001 and 2008. The predicted result would be: (1) Cambridge, (2) Oxford, (3) LSE, (4) UCL, (5) King’s College, (6) Queen Mary, (7) Southampton, (8) Cardiff, (9) Keele, (10) Edinburgh, (11) Durham! But, again, this does not seem realistic since it is not plausible to assume that the RAEs from 1990s have a predictive power as good as the 2008 data.

Thus, finally, my compromise: first, I calculated the weighted mean rank, weighing the RAE 1992 rank 0.1, the 1996 rank 0.2, the 2001 rank 0.3 and the 2008 rank 0.4). Second, I added the time trend for six more years (see above). Now, my predicted result is (in brackets how this compares to the 2008 rank, with '+' meaning an improvement): (1) LSE (+/-0), (2) Durham (+2), (3) UCL (-1), (4) Oxford (-1), (5) Cardiff (+3), (6) Cambridge (+1), (7) Queen Mary (+4), (8) Kent (-2), (9) Queen’s Belfast (+/-0), (10) Nottingham (-5), (11) Birmingham (+4), (12) Edinburgh (-2), (13) Glasgow (+4), (14) Reading (-2), (15) Keele (+10), (16) Leeds (+2), (17) Bristol (-1), (18) King’s College (+1), (19) Southampton (+7), (20) Ulster (-6).

How confident am I about this? Not sure … let’s check in 2015!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Comparative Company Law: A Case-Based Approach

Ok, I had the ambition to post something substantial today... but I haven't had the time and energy for it. So, to keep my plan to write at least one blog post per week, just a quick and very early promotional announcement: David Cabrelli and I are about to finish editing and co-writing a book on Comparative Company Law. I saw today that the book is already advertised on the publishers website - perhaps of interest to some readers of this blog

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Is this Twitter thing still around? My experience from the last seven days

Usually, when I join a technology, it starts being in decline (e.g., that happened with Second Life a few years ago). Well, apparently, Twitter survived me, and it may well be around for another year or two. So I thought I may as well summarise my experience so far (and if you want to follow me click here):
  • I can see that it helps networking: I started following a few UK based academics who I did not know in person but from their blogs, writings etc, and some of them started following me as well and send me welcome messages: so, that was good.
  • The reciprocity of following and being followed is also interesting psychologically – as well as the counting of “followers” - actually, there is presumably no denying that some (many?) treat Twitter as a vanity project.
  • Admittedly, three of my tweets linked to this blog – and I checked immediately to see whether my view count went up (which it did!); so, I may not be entirely immune from this. And it may also show more generally that blogging and tweeting may be complements not substitutes.
  • I also tried more interactive features such as following the Twitter discussion on BBC’s Any Questions and re-tweeting; actually, this may be fun; and it’s interesting to see how via Twitter information flows into different directions.
  • And to mention a rather obvious final point: Twitter is definitely a useful distraction to avoid doing what you’re supposed to do (in my case: writing my book, preparing the REF)… so I may well stay around for a bit ...

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Twitter is so useless...

Ok, granted, if you want to start a revolution in a Middle Eastern dictatorship, it may be helpful. But, that’s nothing I’m planning to do, at the moment at least… Apart from that, I don’t really see the point: I’m not interested in following the life of / gossip about celebrities. And why this odd restriction to 140 characters? You can blog about everything you would be tweeting about but have the advantage of not being restricted by some arbitrary word limit. Also, I really don’t have time to tweet …

So, to sum it up, I just wanted to know the readers of this blog know that eventually I joined Twitter: I’m https://twitter.com/#!/siemslegal  

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The places my books have been…

This post should not really be of interest for anyone … but, well, since I did the chart I thought I may post it as well. Background: since I have lived in a couple of places in the last 10-15 years, a frequent problem has been whether to take my books with me, as far as possible, or leave them at friends, relatives and self-storage facilities (in the chart Munich I, Hamburg II & III). Now, at least everything is consolidated in England which feels good. And opening the boxes with my books that arrived in Durham I was wondering about the journeys they have already made ….