Not fit to print

There are now 15 000 plus” predatory journals” which purport to be research publishers but are frauds. Cabells Scholarly Analytics, which maintains a register of such villainy, says this a nearly four-field increase since 2017.

Big ranking winners

They aren’t the unis you think

Angel Calderon’s (RMIT) (really analytic) analysis of yesterday’s Times Higher rankings is in Features this morning.

He explains where is up, and down and why, plus he points to where the real action is.

Which is not in the top-100, where a DVC R will sell a passing PVC to move up five places. Instead it’s down-list, where universities with sophisticated strategies can make giant strides.

Want to know which universities have made the biggest gains over the last seven years and how they did it?  Angel explains.

And he sets out the five ways to sustainably improve a research ranking.

Really, really worth reading.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Sven Rogge (UNSW) and Nicholas Fisk (UNSW) suggest how the ARC can reduce the damage of its exclusion of pre-print citations from grant applications.

 plus James Guthrie  looks at Uni Melbourne’s 2020 financials – the surplus it reported is way less than its net operating result.

and, Enabling programmes must be the new normal in higher education – without them wider access is unfair. Pranit Anand (QUT) makes the case in this week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning

with Garry Carnegie (RMIT)  who asks whether rankings fit the purpose of universities.

Who knows why Murdoch U people are unhappy

Staff made their displeasure felt in the last staff survey – and that’s in the bits that are released

Less low than high-lights released mid-year include two-thirds of staff saying Murdoch U is not much of a place to work – so what, people want to know, is the bits not released. The campus branch of the National Tertiary Education Union asked Interim DVC Romy Lawson and Chancellor Gary Smith for the whole survey back in July but got a nothing-doing reply from People and Culture Director Joe Perkins who said “individual leaders and managers” were “sharing and discussing” detailed results with staff and there would be “action plans at each local area.” Plus, the union had only to ask for a meeting to hear all about it.

Which does not appear quite what the comrades had in mind.

But not to worry, Professor Lawson will be on the case until she leaves (for Flinders U) at year-end. Acting Chancellor Ross Holt tells staff the IVC will be dedicated “to actions related to the survey,” and, along with the Senior Executive Group, “has identified priority areas for change.”

Perhaps this will calm things down or perhaps Newtown’s Third Law (of HR) will apply, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite action.”

Crown head urged to abdicate

There is a petition at RMIT calling for the chancellor to resign

Last week long-serving chancellor, Ziggy Switkowski was announced as the incoming chair of casino giant Crown Resorts. This alarms some  university staff who believe the gambling company does not meet the RMIT commitment “to be agents of positive change for our students, the community and beyond.”

An open letter is circulating calling on Dr Switkowski to resign from the university.

Pointing to Mark Vaile’s decision not to accept Uni Newcastle council’s offer that he become chancellor, the petition states, “the community expects chancellors to demonstrate a commitment to social wellbeing and the public interest.” Mr Vaile’s appointment was vocally opposed at Uni Newcastle because he chairs a coal mining company.

“Complete madness” not to invest in HE: UNSW’s Jacobs

“The sector is one of the nation’s jewels” he says

Australian universities responded to the pandemic “in an exemplary fashion,” moving teaching on-line and making financial and organisational “adjustments,” despite “being excluded by government from support,” according to outgoing UNSW VC Ian Jacobs.

In an interview for a Group of Eight podcast, Professor Jacobs warns of pandemic-related “major uncertainties” in 2022 and ’23 and describes the Commonwealth funding model as “unfortunate”. “In my view as I exit, the HE sector in Australia is one of the nation’s jewels and it is complete madness not to support and invest in it,” he says.

However, Professor Jacobs is also optimistic about a change in attitude and future government support, “it’s a phase in time. I cannot imagine that anyone would seriously think it is wise for Australia to damage a sector that it has so effectively built-up over 30 years. 40, 50 years. Those in the sector and those who support the sector outside will keep on making the case and I am sure that this well reverse, there are so many positives.”

In particular, he is positive about the potential of a “discovery-translation application pipeline.”

“It’s clearly in the national interest (and) it’s all doable. The sums needed are not only small in the context of what is being thrown at the pandemic but crucially it would generate a return for the nation.”

Professor Jacobs says he hopes to see a positive proposal “very soon.”

As to UNSW which he leaves at year-end, the university acted quickly last year “preserving our strategic direction” and while there “are major uncertainties” for 2022 and ’23,” looking beyond that this is an incredibly strong sector. “

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

 Krystal Campbell wins the “visualise your thesis” competition at UTS. Her entry on the experiences of first in family university students and graduates is on YouTube and is worth a look.

Katarina Miljkovic (Curtin U) has funding via the Australian Academy of Science to develop a pilot mentoring programme for PhD students and early mid-career researchers in space and radio science.

Stephin Vervoot will join the MRI formerly known as Walter and Eliza Hall in March. He is now at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Of the week

 ANU’s Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions announces two appointments. Frank Jotzo (ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy) becomes head of energy. Roslyn Prinsley (now head of strategic research initiatives at the university) takes charge of disaster solutions.

Ian Douglas (UNSW) becomes a fellow of the Air Transport Research Society.

Jessica Gallagher is the inaugural DVC External Engagement at Uni Adelaide, starting NovemberShe moves from Uni Queensland where she is PVC Global Engagement and Entrepreneurship.

Susan Howitt is appointed director of the Australian Council of Deans of Science Teaching and Learning Centre. She moves from the Research School of Biology at ANU.

Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia announces board appointments. Alan Bowen-James (Le Cordon Bleu Australia) becomes deputy chair, higher education.  Kathryn von Treuer (Cairnmillar Institute) also joins the board.

At Uni Sydney FASS dean Annamarie Jagose is appointed provost. She starts mid-October. An interim FASS dean will be appointed “ahead of an international search” for a permanent one.

Shelley Kinash is confirmed at Uni New England as executive principal, student experience., (she was “interim” in the role from June). Professor Kinash was previously at Uni Southern Queensland. Peter Gunning (UNSW) is awarded the president’s medal of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology.

 Helen Klaebe starts this morning as dean of Uni Queensland’s Graduate School. She moves from QUT.

At Griffith U Andrew O’Neill moves from Business School research dean to dean of the Griffith Graduate Research School.

Lisa Singh becomes director of Uni Melbourne’s Australia India Institute. The former Labor senator for Tasmania moves from government advocacy at the Minderoo Foundation

Flinders U marketing director Callista Thillou is leaving to become to become ED Engagement at the new Sydney-based James Martin Institute for Public Policy