There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Tom Smith and James Guthrie (both Macquarie U) on the way casual staff are lost in university statistics and why we need to count people not accounting abstracts


Marnie Hughes Warrington (Uni SA) on the Night Train, where industry-university partnerships grow and change together. “The best universities shape-shift with their communities,” she writes.

Rola Ajjawi (Deakin U) argues feedback to students should be about learning, not justifying a grade – a new addition to contributing editor Sally Kift’s series on what we need now in teaching and learning.

Merlin Crossley is delighted President Biden is taking science seriously.

Facing futures: challenges for social scientists

The social sciences face two futures, one where they, “decline substantially in depth, breadth, diversity and profile” and another where they, “rise to the challenges … and create positive impact”

The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia sets out the issues which will shape their fate in a discussion paper, preparatory for a report intended to, “provide a foundation for the Academy’s efforts to ensure Australia has the policy settings, funding and infrastructure that support and enable world-class education and research in the social sciences.”

Challenges include:

* cuts to entire programmes or disciplines with teaching taking priority over research

* more emphasis on industry engagement in research and no subsidy for it from teaching

* research performance assessed by citation metrics, which appear to favour STEM disciplines, while HASS uses peer-review

* a decline in tertiary student share

Ideas on what is to be done are due March 5.

Open access money can buy

Peak science journal Nature, will run paid-to-publish articles

According to owner, for-profit publisher Springer, “open access makes research immediately accessible and discoverable by anyone, allowing for greater public engagement as well as for researchers to build on existing research easily.”

And the top price to publish is just A$15 400, (CMM November 26).

The option applies to 1700 journals that are now “transformative” offering gold OA or “the traditional publishing route.”

Authors can pick which, “once the article has been accepted.”

Both, “rely on the same strong editorial processes and follow the same stringent standards.”

There are 30 plus Nature-branded journals in the package, including flagship, Nature.

No gongs for VET

The Australia Day Hons list was light-on for voced people

Is it due to a lack of nominations, or are certain categories of entrants more successful than others?,” asks TAFE Directors chief, Craig Robertson.

“Over recent years only a handful of award recipients have come from the VET sector, which is surprising given its size and scope.”

The training community certainly does not get anywhere near the gongs awarded year in, year out to medical researchers, teachers, practitioners and administrators. High community regard helps the medicos but so does industry associations and lobbies working to make the case for members.

Time for VET to get organised.

NSW has a great idea for any state

The NSW Government convened a conclave wise in the ways of research and development to propose job generating ideas

Which they have now delivered, in a report intended to “accelerate research and development in NSW.”

But if the state government there does not get around to implementing it, Victoria or Queensland could always have a go – the circumstances and solutions the report includes could apply in either.

There’s certainly one idea NSW officials ought to organise lest another state set it-up, “an open-access online R&D matchmaking platform … that links research ‘sellers’ and infrastructure to research ‘buyers’ and investors.”

More, more of the same from the estimable NCVER

The keeper of all data VET has a new plan, much like the last

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research plan for 2021-23 is to build on the important work and achievements of the previous plan but taking it further.

In 2017 a big idea was, “to develop fully integrated and intelligent digital services and products that help people make use of our data in meaningful ways,” (CMM November 3 2017). Now the NCVER plans, “to be a true leader in advanced data systems and infrastructure, big data analytics, and research.”

Plus, a key output will be “producing quality research that is concise and insightful and presents key findings in an engaging manner.”  That will be new – the NCVER’s house style is light-on for laughs.