Game saver for Uni Tas

There are people in Hobart who think Rufus Black is a dark lord – here’s his chance to become a devil

There are reports that a Tasmanian team in the AFL is an imminently happening thing – which gives VC Rufus Black a chance to make the university beloved by (almost) all.

University of Tasmanian Devils” would be a great name for a footy team and as one of the state’s few state-wide institutions, university sponsorship would keep the club above north-south rivalries.

Plus, if the team trained at the existing campus at Sandy Bay nobody outside inner Hobart would care if the university moves to the CBD.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

It was National Teachers Day in Vietnam yesterday, where people believe Người ta không thể làm gì nếu không có giáo dục is a statement to live by. Claire Macken (RMIT Vietnam) EXPLAINS what it means and why it matters – here as well as there.

plus Erica Wilson and Thomas Roche (Southern Cross U) on the university’s revolution in learning and teaching. Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated Needed Now series

with to verify international student credentials build a blockchain. Andrew Flitman (Wells Advisory) makes the case HERE

And in Expert Opinion

Bob Gerrity (wearing his Council of Australian University Librarians hat) explains CAUL’s big deal with Elsevier. Another move towards open access.


Angel Calderon on where the HiCi researchers are

His report is HERE

In Features this morning Mr Calderon analyses Clarivate’s new Highly Cited Researchers list and reports that in Australia the big five research unis account for just over 50 per cent. Globally the big increase in share is by China, from 4.6 per cent in 2015 to 16.2 per cent now. “We are likely to see China stepping ahead of the United States in the share of HiCis within a decade, if not sooner,” he writes.

The list matters, really matters, to university managements who care about rankings – HiCi researchers account for 20 per cent of the Academic Ranking of World Universities and changes in their number can move a university up, or down, a few places.

Debates to shape: the future of HE and research are up for discussion

The Accord is announced and the Department of Education states that on behalf of chair Mary O’Kane and colleagues, it will be “seeking views from all stakeholders on priorities for the review of Australia’s higher education system”

All stakeholders?

“A priority for the panel will be to ensure equal representation of views from across all sectors and groups affected by higher education policy. This will include but is not limited to universities, educators and researchers, equity groups, students, parents, unions and employers – everyone will get a say regarding the future of Australia’s higher education system,” DoE announces.

Uncharacteristically encompassing words for officials – what with the certainty there will complaints from people who protest they were not heard when their ideas are not adopted,

As to what form consultation will take, DoE will let us know when information and consultation “opportunities” become available.

The Sheil Review of the Australian Research Council has asked for advice. The NTUE is on to it

The National Tertiary Education Union has an open to all survey in the on-line field, on the “lived experience of researchers.”

And a useful source it might well be, with questions about how researchers’ fields are considered by the ARC and NHMRC and whether grant processes are unbiased or not.

The survey also asks what factors make application success less likely, ranging from sex/gender to the reputation of their research field. And it asks about where any extra funding should go, with options including more for block grants and for individuals.

With the review barely announced this is fast work – which is wise. Consultation closes in three weeks.


Easier access to research data

Journals published by Springer-Nature (including Nature itself) now include an option for authors to share the data underpinning articles

For emergency-science that is happening fast (think Covid research) access to data that others can replicate is vital.

But making data OA has never been universally popular. Springer says less than 40 per cent of authors make data available and in 2015 Adrian Barnett asked the authors of 157 articles in the British Medical Journal for data – and got it for seven (CMM April 28 2020).

Perhaps it was too hard to organise. But not now for Nature authors, with access to data being  organised by consultants Figshare.

Good-o but is it not incongruous, CMM asked, for data to be OA when the paper it appears in is not? Springer-Nature responds that journals involved “transformative, which means they are all committed to “flipping to open access.”

Big bargaining win for uni managements – it may be the last

Staff at Charles Darwin U have backed management’s enterprise agreement offer, despite the vehement opposition of the National Tertiary Education Union

What happened The vote was 62 per cent in favour, with 59 pe cent of eligible staff turning out.

The pay offer was not especially generous, compared to the 15 per cent over the agreement the NTEU wants at all universities – four per cent now with two per cent in October 2023 and again in October 2024 plus a signing bonus of up to $500. But it appears to have been enough for a majority of staff voting to discount union warnings. Union national president Alison Barnes went to Darwin to campaign against the offer and branch leader Darius Pfitzner warned, “it’s pretty obvious why management only wants to talk about money with so many rights and conditions under attack,” (CMM November 16).

This is a big win indeed for VC Scott Bowman and a considerable achievement, for the university’s lead negotiator Hilary Winchester – management offers that are solidly opposed by union(s) on a campus rarely get up.

It is also the second loss for the NTEU in a month– with a management offer the union opposed being accepted by staff at Southern Cross U (CMM November 7). Although, this was in part due to the Community and Public Sector Union at SCU recommending the offer.

Which the union explains NTEU General Secretary Damien Cahill, attributes both management wins to their taking, “the low road on wages and conditions.”

Having gone without a pay rise for so long, and with rising inflation, it is understandable that many staff felt they had no choice but to accept the management offer. As a result however, they will now inevitably face increased cost of living pressures with fewer employment protections.”

But a win is a win The Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, which represents most uni managements meets this week and it a fair bet there will be seemly celebrations of two rare victories against the NTEU

They should enjoy it while it lasts Which will not be long if the government’s industrial relations bill passes the Senate as is. It makes union approval a requirement before proposed enterprise agreements can be put to an all-staff vote. AHEIA wants the bill amended to allow university managements to put offers unions don’t back to staff once, and if staff vote no for the Fair Work Commission to arbitrate.

So what happens next? The Senate sits this week but while the Fair Work amendment bill is not listed for debate the legislation committee considering it is scheduled to report Wednesday.

Appointments, achievements

The Australian Institute of Physics announces its 2022 medallists. * Women in leadership Medal: Celine Boehm (Uni Sydney) * Laby Medal (thesis): Katherine Curtis (ANU) * Education Medal: John Elias Debs (ANU) * Comms Award: Geraint Lewis (Uni Sydney) * Boas Medal (leadership): Susan Scott (ANU) * Payne-Scott Award (for “key insights”): Phiala Shanahan * Massey Medal (contributions and leadership): Jim Williams (ANU) * Bragg Gold Medal (outstanding thesis): Sebastian Wolf (Un Melbourne).

L’Oreal Australia’s 2022 ANZ Women in Science Fellows include, Hui-Fern Kogy (Doherty Institute) * Georgia Atkin-Smith (the MRI formerly known as Walter and Eliza Hall) * Rebecca Morris (Uni Melbourne) * Noushin Nasiri (Macquarie U) * Essie Rodgers (Uni Canterbury)

 Siobhan McHugh (Uni Wollongong) is a member of the team that has won a Walkely (as in media awards) for Best Audio Feature. It’s for podcast, The Greatest Menace: inside the gay prison experiment.

The WA State Archives ’22 Margaret Medcalf Award for archival research goes to j Emily Lanman (Uni Notre Dame Australia) and Leigh Straw (also UNDA) for separate projects.