Editorial Parish Pump Politics The 1996 Research Assessment Exercise Dear reader, if you are not employed in a British university, please avert your eyes and pass hurriedly on. Remember in passing that those whom the gods wish to destroy they first drive mad! The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) together with its Scottish and Welsh counterparts, has published Circular RAE96 1/94 (June 1994) setting out the framework and data requirements for the next Research Assessment Exercise in British universities. This may appear a purely domestic affair for those concerned but its outcome nonetheless has some effect on a journal such as this. We depend on authors sending us papers and reputable scientists reviewing those papers. Damage to the British science base can damage us. If the kind of department that does the sort of research that features in our pages has its resources cut we may receive fewer volunteered papers and may find it more difficult to identify reputable referees. Indeed, this was the experience after "the 1981/82 cuts". Well respected authorities took early retirement and this certainly made the task of finding reviewers temporarily more difficult. The continuing underfunding of British universities in the 1980s led to the extinction of reputable departments: soil science and geochemistry

certainly suffered in this way. Of course, being an international journal we are shielded from the full or worst effects but it is in our interests to see thriving British university departments. What can EGH do? We can do our best to contribute to your completing form RA2. Active researchers will be asked to supply details of up to four works produced during the assessment period. The relevant period is January 1, 1992 through March 31,1996. Only work which has been published by March 31 1996 will be eligible for inclusion. We will not, of course, relax our standards. All papers go to two anonymous but reputable referees, a hard working group which I know is shared among our respected competitor journals. This assessment procedure will never be weakened. But if your paper is scientifically sound and you get the revised draft back to us by late September, 1995 we will guarantee it will appear in our March issue of 1996 and that issue will appear on time if not early. That is the least we can do to help ensure the survival of e n v i r o n m e n t a l geochemistry in Britain. Brian Davies

Guest editorial Ron Fuge The eleventh European meeting of SEGH was held in The Institute of Earth Studies, University of Wales, Aberystwyth from April 5- 8, 1993. The main theme of the meeting was on environmental contamination resulting from previous metal mining with an open session also being allotted for the presentation of work in progress. During the 6th and 7th April a total of 26 oral presentations and 12 posters were enthusiastically received with topics ranging from problems associated with metal mining and extraction in several countries including Germany, Brazil, Malaysia and South Korea to the many problems associated with previous metal extraction in England, Scotland and Wales. It was particularly

pleasing that 11 of the oral presentations were given by research students. Two field trips, one held at the start of the conference in the mid Wales area and one at the end to Parys Mountain in Anglesey studied problems of acid mine drainage and its effects on local river systems, and problems associated with metalliferous mine waste. Eighteen of the papers presented in the conference are included as abstracts in this volume, Institute of Earth Studies, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, SY 23 3DB, Wales, UK

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