Headline of the week

Yes, it’s only Monday but for prodigious pizazz, TEQSA will win with, “Landmark accreditation workshop highlights the challenges of addressing perceived overlap and duplication in practice.”. “But what does it mean?” you ask (oh, go on) – scroll down for “TEQSA grins (but can bite).” You can drill further at the TEQSA conference, which starts Wednesday.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Lambert Schuwirth (Flinders U) on the five disruptors universities have a decade to deal with here .

Plus, part 3 of Dobson and Mulder on the international alumni opportunity  here.

And CMM commissioning editor Sally Kift on  Connectedness 2.0, the best HE chance for all.

Laureate takes a look at itself

For-profit international provider Laureate started a “simplification” strategy a couple of years back, selling education providers in no/low growth markets

That this could include Laureate’s Adelaide-based Torrens U and other ANZ assets was news in the AFR, which reported Friday. Laureate’s local CEO Linda Brown responded by telling staff business was good, but, “Laureate, like other public companies, regularly evaluates each of its assets and the composition of the network. This process of evaluation does not necessarily mean there will be a sale.”

Good-o but a company kicking its own tyres, generally has a reason beyond admiring the tread.

TEQSA grins (but can bite)

The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency was all smiles in discussions with the Australian Dental Council

The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency was all smiles in discussions with the Australian Dental Council. Like many other industry associations, the Council has long regulated discipline training in universities – back in June it put conditions on the registration of Charles Sturt U’s dental school (CMM June 6).

But the teeth they are a changing (sorry) and the feds have empowered TEQSA to bite into accreditation issues on its patch, for example, academic governance, facilities management, general student support and assessment integrity (CMM November 19).

So, the dentists suggested they talk. They will talk some more, “while we did not reach a definitive outcome at this time, these discussions form the foundations of a working relationship which will benefit the sector now and into the future,” ADC boss Narelle Mills says.

Ye gods, after doing this with every self-regulating industry’s association, TEQSA will be collectively long in the tooth indeed.

Now there’s an idea

 “Tonight, we launched ‘Tourism in Tasmania,” Uni Tas VC Rufus Black, via Twitter. Now why didn’t anybody think of that before

(In fact, he was talking about a new collection of essays on the practise and theory of tourism in the state.)

Research hacking powered by P

Hard to credit though it is, researchers keeping hacking data until they get the number they need

Adrian Barnett (QUT) and Jonathan Wren (Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation) looked at over one 1.3m confidence intervals from research paper abstracts and full-research, to find “an excess of statistically significant results.”

What they did: They used text-mining algorithms to find patterns in reporting of confidence intervals in research above and below the statistically significant p-value of 1.

What they found: “There was a steep increase in the number of lower interval limits just above 1, meaning they were just above the threshold for statistical significance. Similarly, there was a steep increase in the number of upper interval limits just below 1 and so just inside the statistically significant threshold.”

What it means:   p-hacking is what. Professor Barnett tells CMM, “The basic idea of p-hacking is that researchers repeat their analysis until they get a result with p under 0.05. Then they present this result as if it was the only analysis they did. This is scientifically dishonest and creates a huge bias in the evidence base. There are multiple villains. Researchers feel pressure to do this in order to keep their jobs. The journals and peer reviewers prefer to publish ‘interesting’ results.

What should be next: “Statistical significance should no longer be used as a tool to screen what results are published and the evidence base would be in a better state if significance were given far less prominence,” Barnett and Wren write.

We need a massive change in attitudes and practice in order to change and provide a more honest and useful picture of what drugs, procedures, interventions, etc. really work,” Professor Barnett says.

Dolt of the day

 Is CMM, who reported Friday that Education Minister Dan Tehan spoke at the University of Malaya. In fact, the address was at the National University of Malaysia.

Keeping Australia cyber-safe: what unis want

The feds asked for advice for the 2020 Cyber Security strategy – the HE community obliged 

Submissions from academics, universities, plus HE lobbies and industry-groups addressed all sorts of issues in the brief, from creating a skills base to the importance of community consultation. The comprehensive responses should shut-up suggestions from government agencies that universities are not across dimensions of the cyber-security challenge (September 10).  Among all the detail, themes emerge;

Government should help HE: “Universities are an attractive target given their research across a range of fields and the intellectual property this research is likely to generate. … More focus is required on assisting Australia’s higher-education institutions to ensure they have the necessary cybersecurity controls and practices in place to protect against cyber-attacks,” UWA submits

More research is needed: Swinburne U calls for government to “support cyber awareness and education but also support fundamental research by Australian researchers on the system approaches to protect both hardware and software from malicious cyber-attacks.”

More, more research: QUT calls for cyber security, “centres of excellence”

Plus, more money for courses: Australian Catholic U proposes national standards for cyber-security qualifications and funding for “additional places for cyber-security related qualifications at various levels, from micro-credentials through to research degrees.”

And a curriculum: Uni Queensland suggests a cyber skills curriculum from k to post-compulsory and offers to, “to contribute to the development of draft curricula with other stakeholders in the skills pipeline” But who will teach it? “It would be ideal if the government introduced grants or schemes which would enable the university sector to match the remuneration of cyber security lecturers to close-to-market rate,” Uni Queensland suggests.

UNSW can help: “Strategic investment in cyber security education is the only way to address workplace skills shortages … universities such as UNSW are well-placed to deliver cutting-edge courses that create world-class professionals.”

So can the Cyber Security CRC: “Government has a continuing role in supporting industry-led research and development so that Australia can continue to play a significant role in innovation and collaboration in cyber security. The Cooperative Research Centre programme is a tried and tested mechanism for facilitating research collaboration. The programme has been repeatedly reviewed and each time it has proven that it provides the Australian taxpayer value for money and significantly adds to Australian innovation.”

The shape of wins to come for research open access

For-profit journal giant Elsevier has negotiated over open-access issues it is disputing with the University of California –  just not with U Cal

OA deal done: The publisher and Carnegie Mellon U have a new  agreement that charges a single-fee for staff access to all Elsevier journals and for all university research in them to be published open-access. It looks like the deal Elsevier reached with Norway’s universities in April (CMM April 24).

But not like the continuing stand-off between the publisher and the University of California – negotiations broke down over the network’s demands for an arrangement which looks like what Carnegie Mellon now has (CMM March 14).

U Cal wants in: Elsevier has now signalled it is ready to reach agreements, without conceding to the vast U Cal network and the university “says, “we look forward to the opportunity to re-engage in conversations with Elsevier to achieve a cost-effective agreement on similar terms.” The basis for a deal on open access is now established, what isn’t is the price.

OA on the way: But none of this take the OA pressure off Elsevier. On Thursday the US Government Accountability Office issued recommendations to 19 federal research-funding agencies to pick up the pace on open access.

Uni Adelaide staff lead achievements of the morning

Uni Adelaide announces its VC achievement awards

Research: Anthony Thomas (Physical Sciences), Shizhang Qiao (Chemical Engineering)

Early career researcher: Rhiannon Schilling (Ag, Food, Wine)

Research excellence, professional staff: Joanne Hedges (Dental School)

Student Experience: Tony Zheng (Academic and Student Engagement)

Impact, Excellence: Mark Hutchinson (Medical School)

Community building:  Wayne Boardman (Animal and Vet Sciences)

Community culture: Claudia Szabo (Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences)

Community connected: Gregory Crawford (Medical School)

 The Royal Australian Chemical Institute announces its 2019 awards, including;

Rennie Medal for younger chemist: Debbie Silvester-Dean (Curtin U)

Weickhardt Medal for advancing the Australian economy: Grant Douglas (CSIRO)

Leighton Medal eminent services to chemistry: Leo Radom (Uni Sydney)

Fensham Medal for chemistry education: Siegbert Schmid (Uni Sydney)

Cornforth Medal for PhD research: Emma Watson (Uni Sydney)

The Australian Academy of Science announces the 2020 Australia-India early/mid career research fellowships

* Sumeet Walia (RMIT) * Nagendrakumar Singanallur Balasubramanian (CSIRO) * Ravinesh Deo (USQ) * Sergey Kruk (ANU) * Morteza Saberi (UTS) * Fiona McKay (Deakin U) * Suvash Saha (UTS) * Jegadesan Subbiah (Uni Melbourne) * Alison Pearce (Uni Sydney) * Shuaifei Zhao (Deakin U) * Siva Krishna Karuturi (ANU) * Thanh Thi Nguyen (Deakin U) * Sonika Tyagi (Monash U) * Sanjay Nimbalkar (UTS) * Christina Aggar (Southern Cross U) * Rebecca Zwart (Uni Southern Queensland) * Jency Thomas (La Trobe U) * Ashmita Sengupta (CSIRO) * Kaya Klop Toker (Uni Newcastle)

The National Transport Research Awards for 2019, include;

Research rising star: Brody Clark (QUT)

Research impact: Jayantha Kodikara (Monash U)

Lifetime research: Raphael Grzebieta (UNSW)