Quite frankly, research without assessment poses a problem. Listen, it is appalling, but this would be the first assessment of its kind… in our universities… the first… in 2009… frankly… for a great, modern country like ours… the first time. Assessment is the reward for performance.
This brings to mind the famous Red Army aphorism:
Проверка — высшая форма доверия. (“Scrutiny is the highest form of trust”)
Later addition, 1 Apr 09: See a response from French academics: Réponse à la provocation présidentielle du 22 janvier. English transpaltions of the President’s speech and this response would be much appreciated.
Meanwhile, a French colleague wrote to me:
Concerning his [Sarkozy's] statement that we are not evaluated, this is totally false: researchers are evaluated every year, and laboratories every 2 years. Since most university-people are part of a lab, most people are evaluated all the time.
With thanks to David Pierce and Zoe Chatzidakis.