The Higher Education Standards Panel has released draft standards for research. The Panel proposes that:
“research and research training standards are warranted in the revised Higher Education Standards Framework, while acknowledging that such standards will not apply to all providers. The same standards would, however, apply to all providers who conduct research, or research and research training, irrespective of the category of provider. Like the current Threshold Standards, the proposed research standards are intended to be the subject of regulation, i.e. they will not be ‘non- threshold’ standards”1.
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 Panel. It also supports ACU’s research intensification strategy and is to be considered in conjunction with the university’s research workloads 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 defined in current HERDC guidelines2: Research is defined as the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.
Research active staff at ACU will satisfy TWO of the following THREE 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 grants in the preceding 5-year period. The total value of the grants 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.
An Author or co-author of peer reviewed research outputs in the preceding 5-year period totalling 5 points as follows:
Research Monograph (worth 5 points);
Chapter in approved edited monograph (worth 1 point);
Refereed journal article (worth 1 point); and
Non-traditional Research Output (see section 5 below)3.
In determining research active status the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research will also take into consideration objective indicators of the quality of the staff member's outputs.
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 Executive Dean of the Faculty will assess the staff member's outputs relative to opportunity.
Where staff do not meet the requirements in achieving two of the three criteria, but have excelled in one of the criteria, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research may approve that individual as meeting the requirements of research active.
3 Note that for those working in the citation disciplines the journal must be indexed in Scopus or Web of Science data bases. For those in the peer review disciplines the journal must normally appear on the Faculty tiered list of acceptable journals.
5. The Weighting and Evaluation of Non-Traditional Research Outputs
The 2015 ERA draft guidelines categorise non-traditional outputs as the live performance of creative works, recorded/rendered creative works, curated or produced substantial public exhibitions and events, and research reports for an external body. 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.