TAFE Queensland’s Applied Blockchain dip

It’s for, “anyone who is interested in understanding how the technology works, is looking to improve their skills or wants to implement blockchain into their business.” Cost is $145 – there is no word if TAFE accepts crypto-currencies.

Way to go on open access

There are new Australian agreements with all sorts of scholarly publishers – just not the biggest

The cost of content from for-profit journal giant Elsevier will drop for UK universities under a deal done by negotiating agency JISC. It appears research from participating universities will be open access up-front and while what this means for article processing charges and subscription costs is not apparent, JISC states the arrangement will provide “a significant reduction” in member spends (CMM March 25).

So what will happen here? The Council of Australian University Librarians has struck deals with a plethora of publishers that make research by academics at member institutions open access and without pay to publish – all charges are covered by subscription costs.

But Elsevier is not one of them. So CMM asked CAUL if  the UK deal indicates the shape of talks to come.

To which the council replied, it is “finalising the strategy and negotiation principles in preparation for the next round of discussions with publishers with the potential for further Open Access agreements.

“Publishers targeted for these discussions include large publishers such as Elsevier and others, as well as medium and small publishers, across a range of STEM and HASS disciplines.

Victoria U on the up

The university is preparing to transfer almost 100 HE and VET courses to its new VU City Tower, in Melbourne’s CBD

As of April 26 classes will move from the university’s three city-sites to the 32 floor building on the corner of Queen and Little Lonsdale Streets.

The project dates from 2018, with the building owned by investors including Uni Melbourne and Uni Super (CMM November 5 2018). VU occupies all floors.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Sean Brawley (Uni Wollongong) on metrics for HASS research assessment.  “Data from the 2018 (ERA) exercise clearly demonstrates the advantage of being in a metric driven rather than a peer review driven discipline,” he suggests. Scroll down for more on the debate.

plus the successful switch to on-line teaching and learning during COVID was not luck – it depended on the skills of third-space practitioners,  the learning designers, academic developers and educational technologists who had built the foundations for the transformation. Sally Kift and Colin Simpson set the scene for a discussion of a new book in how it happened.

CSIRO set for fast start on $1.6bn research accelerator

The agency already has a big role – it could be bigger

The government’s research accelerator bill was not in the Reps yesterday which all but ensures it won’t happen before the election.

But this does not mean it is all over – Labor is said to support the research translation intent of the accelerator and so the next government, which-ever party(ies) forms it, will have time to consider governance. Including what CSIRO gets to do.

The present plan is for CSIRO to run stage three – where research is ready to be commercialised. There is $150m for the organisation’s Main Sequence Ventures, “to invest venture capital in spin-outs, start-ups and SMEs with strong links to Australian research and development to continue the channel for high-value opportunities to be taken to market.”

And CSIRO is not mucking about, observers say people are in place to organise the process – which appears commendably early, given the bill has not passed the House, let alone been seen by the Senate. And it will take months, many, many months for research props to get to stage three.

But perhaps CSIRO thinks it can help with the first two stages, via its ON programme, which can start at the early point of giving “individuals or teams the skills they need to explore their ecosystem and have meaningful discussions with stakeholders, including potential industry partners.”

The accelerator also provides for eight managers, expert in the national manufacturing priorities, who will be “highly qualified, experienced and motivated business and technology specialists.” They will report to a board whose members will, “possess experience and knowledge in research and its commercialisation, and represent government, industry business and research sectors.”

Easily announced but somebody will have to provide them all with support. CSIRO might be best-ready to help.

Maybe they didn’t get the memo

Thanks to the learned reader who points out the DESE portfolio budget statement names Stuart Robert as Acting Minister for Education and Youth on the front page but on the portfolio structure table, Alan Tudge is listed as minister

In peers they don’t trust (they should bring metrics)

HASS disciplines need numbers they can rely on

Citation metrics demonstrate that education researchers in Australia really rate on a global scale – but that is not what the last Excellence in Research for Australia ranking revealed. Anna Sullivan (Uni SA) suggests peer reviewing is a problem.

“It’s likely that the peer reviewers who evaluated the quality of a selection of research outputs did not benchmark accurately in previous evaluations. But this is not unexpected given the lack of clarity around the benchmarks,” Professor Sullivan suggests for the Australian Association for Research in Education.

This really matters as the Australian Research Council asks for advice on how to assess performance for next year’s ERA, Professor Sullivan suggests.

And it really, really matters because in ERA ’23 the ARC will include more ratings scales, to demonstrate how Australian research fields compete against the global absolute elite. This may not be that much of a problem for sciences ranked by citations but the last ERA suggests it could be bad for peer-reviewed disciplines, like education.

And history.  In ERA 2018 departments that expected to do well (high-profile hires, prestige publications) didn’t. The problem, some suggested, was that peer reviewers are dedicated followers of historiographical fashion (CMM May 29 2019).

So what is to be done. Professor Sullivan asks, “why isn’t the ARC including citation metrics in the suite of benchmarks for all disciplines? It might offer a checking balance to moderate peer reviews.”

Or, as Sean Brawley (Uni Wollongong)  explained in CMM this week,

“The metrics-driven disciplines essentially have standards through which their College of Experts make data-informed judgements. … In the peer review disciplines, however, we rely on the peer reviewers and the College of Experts having the same idea of what quality looks like (across a diverse range of disciplines) and then the assigning of the final ranking is contested and debated.”

Uni Tas city move a (very) hard sell

COO David Clerk rebuts rumours about the CBD move

Writing for the university’s website, Mr Clerk states the relocation is about, “financial sustainability so that we can fulfil our mission to provide quality higher education to the most diverse range of Tasmanians.”  And that it is necessary is the Commonwealth’s fault, “when universities need to upgrade facilities or build new infrastructure, we have to fund it ourselves, “ he adds.

Mr Clerk assures readers there are no hidden agendas but acknowledges “we know we need to work with Tasmanians who care about the university to ensure that people better understand this change.”

That he also felt the need to state, “the university does not have any foreign ownership,” demonstrates just how much understanding U Tas needs to create.

The city move will take years to complete, which is good – U Tas needs a tonne of time to win community support

Appointments, achievements

Of the day

The International Society for Experimental Hematology’s McCulloch and Till award for emerging/mid-career scientists goes to Louise Purton (Saint Vincent’s IMR).

The National Health and Medical Research Council announces its 2021 awards. * Louise Bauer (Uni Sydney): leadership * Nigel Beebe (Uni Queensland): innovation award * Clare Collins (Uni Newcastle): leadership * Dale Godfrey (Uni Melbourne): leadership * Simon Graham (Uni Melbourne): emerging leadership  * Trevor Leong (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre): clinical trials and cohort studies award * Melissa Little (Murdoch Children’s RI) ideas grant award * Brett Mitchell (Uni Newcastle): emerging leadership * Susan Ramus (UNSW): leadership * Julie Redfern (Uni Sydney): leadership * Andrew Roberts (the IMR formally known as Walter and Eliza Hall): synergy grant award * Hyon-Xhi Tan (Uni Melbourne): emerging leadership * Ouli Xie (Uni Melbourne): postgraduate award

Open Access Australasia has a new executive committee: Kim Tairi (Auckland Uni Tech) is chair and members are, * Fiona Bradley (UNSW) * Dimity Flanagan (Uni Melbourne) * Danny Kingsley (Flinders U) * Michelle Blake (Uni Waikato) * Claire Thorpe (Southern Cross U)

Victoria U deputy chancellor, Kate Roffey is named CEO of Victoria’s State Sports Centres Trust.

Of the week

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering announces its second group of “catalysts” in its Industry Mentoring Network in STEM, * Malene Ahern (Macquarie U) * Ngozi Chidi-Egboka (UNSW) * Beatrice Chiew (Uni Newcastle) * Amal Mohamed Dameer (medical practitioner) * Marissa Duong (UWA) * Alejandra Fernandez (QUT) * Josephine Ataa Hinneh (Uni Adelaide) * Adam Johnston (Macquarie U) * Lauren Jones (Flinders U) * Tian Nie (Uni Melbourne) * Arianna Oddo (consultant) * Winter Okoth (Griffith U) * Mateus Oliveira Silva (CSIRO) * Françios Olivier (Monash U) * Mohammad Zaidur Rahman Sabuj (QUT) *Janice Vaz (Western Sydney U)

Graham Brown starts next month as Charles Sturt U’s DVC A. He moves from PVC A at UWA.  Sue Carthew has been Interim DVC A since January.

Dragan Gašević (Monash U) is made a lifetime member by the Society for Learning Analytics Research, for “significant and sustained contribution” to the field.

The six PhD students or post docs  who will attend the 2022 Lindau Nobel laureates meeting are * Amandeep Kaur (Uni Sydney) * Neil Robinson (UWA) * Sanjana Prasad (RMIT) * Piyush Sharda (ANU) * Matthias Wurdack (ANU) and Diana Zhang (UNSW).

Judith McNamara is the new law school dean at Uni Adelaide. She leaves QUT.

Helen Milroy (UWA) wins Momentum for Australia’s 20-22 Most Inspiring Woman of the Year award.

Cheryl Praeger (UWA emeritus) and Jeremy Brownlie (Griffith U) are new members of the Commonwealth’s National Science and Technology Council.

Jason Roberts (appointments include Uni Queensland) receives the Fred J Boyd Award, from the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia, for the “unparalleled impact” of his support.

John Romalis moves to Macquarie U as head of economics. He comes from Uni Sydney.

Jacqui True (Monash U) receives the Northcutt Award from the International Studies Association’s Women’s Caucus.

UWA reports election  by its convocation (graduates, academics and interested other). Warren Kerr is the member of Senate. Jenny Gregory is warden. Warren Kerr is the member of Senate. David Griffiths is deputy warden.

Mike Wilson starts next week as Interim DVC R at Uni New England. He was previously at Charles Darwin U,  joining in 2020 as provost.

Stephen Wong becomes the inaugural head of the Cancer Genomics Translational Research Centre at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. His is an internal appointment,

Bob Wood, joins Macquarie U Business School next month to lead a JV with the Commonwealth Bank – a four year longitudinal study of young adults’ financial decision making.  He moves from UTS.