The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 require that ‘research is conducted, or overseen, by staff with qualifications, research experience and skills relevant to the type of research undertaken and their role’ (Section 4.1.2) and that higher degree research ‘students are admitted to research training only where the training can be provided in a supervisory and study environment of research activity…’ (Section 4.2.2).
This paper defines ‘research-active’ status as adopted by the Australian Catholic University (ACU). This definition is developed in accordance with the requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015. It also supports ACU’s research intensification strategy and is to be considered in conjunction with the University’s Academic Workload Policy.
Appointment as an HDR supervisor at ACU will be made with reference to this policy.
3. Definition of Research
‘Research’ is equivalent to the meaning of research and experimental development (R&D) defined in the current HERDC Specifications2: for example, the 2020 HERDC Specification for the Collection of 2019 Data define research as ‘creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge – including knowledge of humankind, culture and society – and to devise new applications of available knowledge.’ This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.
4. Criteria of Research Active
All Research active staff at ACU will have authored or co-authored peer reviewed research outputs in the preceding 5-year period totalling 5 points (or greater) as follows:
Research book (5 points)
Chapter in approved edited book (1 point)
Refereed journal article (1 point).3
Non-traditional Research Output (see section 5 below).
This 5-point equivalent (or greater) publication record of Research Active staff will be ranked at ERA 3 (at world standard) or higher through the annual RPRP process.
In addition, all Research active staff will also satisfy at least one of the following criteria:
Listed as a Chief Investigator (CI) on either Category 1 (Australian competitive), Category 2 (other public sector research income), or Category 3 (industry and other research income) funded grant/s in the preceding 5-year period. The total value of the grant/s will be $75,000 or greater.
Successfully supervised to completion two HDR students in the preceding 5-year period as a principal, co-supervisor, or assistant supervisor.
In determining research active status, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research will take into consideration objective indicators of the quality of the staff member’s outputs and other research related activity.
A publication with multiple authors will count as one publication for each author except in the case of a book where the points will be divided amongst the authors in proportion to their respective contributions.
Where staff do not meet the requirements of the above-mentioned criteria, for example, because they are early career researchers, have had an interruption to their research career, or only begun to engage in research within the preceding five (5) years, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research will assess the staff member’s outputs relative to opportunity.
In cases of exceptional merit in publication but where a staff member does not meet the above criteria in their entirety, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research may consider a staff member for Research Active status.
5. The Weighting and Evaluation of Non-Traditional Research Outputs
The 2018 ERA submission guidelines categorise non-traditional outputs (NTROs) as original creative works, live performance of creative works, recorded/rendered creative works, curated or produced substantial public exhibitions and events, research reports for an external body, and portfolio. It is important that these works meet the definition of research.
In claiming credit for these outputs, the creator will need to provide documentation as to the research standing of the output. The statement should not exceed 250 words per output and must identify the research component of the output. The statement must include the research background (context, research question), the research contribution (its innovation and new knowledge), and its significance (evidence of peer review). An additional 350-word statement per output may be submitted to contextualise the submission. Objective indicators of quality (e.g. external reviews and peer assessments) should also be submitted.
This evidence will be assessed by the Faculty who will recommend a weighting of 0 (not research) to 5 weighted points. This recommendation will be submitted to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research for approval.
6. Revision made to this Policy
Major, Minor or Editorial
Updates to: Governing authority; background information updated to reflect Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 ; R&D definition (reflects HERDC Specifications); definition of NTROs.