The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) is a peer review exercise, undertaken on behalf of the four British higher education funding councils, the intention of which is to evaluate the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It began in 1986, and has been conducted at roughly five-year intervals since. Some historians have argued this has gravely distorted the research process, vastly increasing the pressure, especially on young academics, to publish quickly rather than allow their ideas to mature. Others argue that they would have produced the number of publication required for RAE submission without external promoting, and that thus in this regard it has had little effect. All agree that the level of bureaucracy involved in the process has become increasingly onerous. Tthe successor to the RAE, the Research Excellence Framework, is currently being developed amid lively debate concerning the use of metrics to evaluate performance.