In a paper just published in the ESR, Benoit and Marsh confirm that research excellence is measurable — even for political scientists, some of whom argue that reality is constructed. They show that research quality varies considerably. Should research budgets be cut, there is now a basis for cuts that minimise damage to quality.
Some of you will want to bitch that Benoit and Marsh feature as the numbers 1 and 3 on their own ranking. This is nonsense. The correlation between the various indices is high. The same people are top regardless of the quality measure used, and people-in-the-know already roughly knew who would do well. This exercise primarily serves the community — and the authors invested time that they could have used to publish in a more prestigious journal.