More tweets are not needed

Jose Luis Orega from the Spanish National Research Council wondered if there is a relationship between researchers tweeting and their work being tweeted. “The involvement of authors in Twitter does not improve the citation impact of their papers” he found.

Ian Young is oceans away from ANU

The former VC  is no one-wave wonder

In the Great Southern Ocean winds are blowing harder and waves are getting bigger, according to new research from the University of Melbourne’s Ian Young and Agustinus Ribal. They analysed data from 4bn satellite observations over 30 years and 80 ocean buoys to discover extreme winds are 8 per cent fiercer and waves 5 per cent bigger.

Young, Ian Young, now where have you heard that name before? Perhaps in reports of his global data base of calibrated altimeter wind speed and wave height, (CMM January 24).

Unless it was when Ian “the gent” Young was VC of ANU.

Back in 2015 Professor Young said he was standing down to return to research – and he was. While Lake Burley Griffen is very nice, it isn’t much use to oceanographers.

Ocean conditions matter to coasts so we need to understand the extent these increases are cyclical or caused by climate change he and Dr Ribal say


Yet more Labor higher education spending promises

The higher education cashaway continues with infrastructure and student support announcements

Tanya Plibersek would now need to be in two places at once to announce all the Labor HE infrastructure funding. On Wednesday Labor’s deputy leader and education portfolio shadow was in Darwin, announcing money. She left commitments for Australia Catholic U , Western Sydney U and UNSW in Sydney to her higher education junior spokesperson, Louise Pratt.

Ms Plibersek announced $14m for a teacher education facility, to be used by CDU and Batcheler Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.

Back in Sydney, Senator Pratt was promising $7m in government for a campus partnership between Blacktown council and Australian Catholic University. Before that she had been at UNSW announcing $2m for a university partnership with nearby Matraville Sports High. Senator Pratt’s big day also included a visit to Western Sydney U, where she committed $3m for equity programmes i nncatchment schools.

If, as seems likely the ACU and Northern Territory money would come from the proposed $300m University Future Fund, it is now over half-allocated.

In contrast, when Education Minister Dan Tehan stuck his head up Wednesday it was to point out that out-of-pocket child care costs are down by 8.9 per cent since the government announced a subsidy in October.

That Mr Tehan has stayed largely silent on higher education during the campaign is probably because he has nothing to announce. The government appears to rightly recognise even if there had been much coalition support on campus it ended when demand driven funding of undergraduate places was abolished in 2018.

So why is Labor making more announcements than it need? One answer is because it recognises the importance of more higher education infrastructure and equity in access. Another is it is building a bank of goodwill it will draw down when it reduces funding per commonwealth supported place in the 2020 budget.

Aus based academics speak up for Beijing academic

ANU’s Barmé leads call for Tsinghua U to restore law professor’s rights

Geremie Barmé (ANU ) is speaking up  for Tsinghua University law professor Xu Zhangrun, sacked after criticising of China’s Communist Party and government, specifically PRC president and CCP general sceretary Xi Jingping.

Professor Barmé sets out the circumstances here and has circulated a protest letter, signed by 250, mainly Anglosphere academic China experts, including a bunch from ANU.

“We urge the university to restore Professor Xu’s normal status in the university, including his teaching and research duties, and to refrain from any further sanctions against him,” signatories urge the university.

Maybe they should also write to Australian universities that host Confucius Institutes urging them to join the campaign.

ANZ based signatories are: Barmé, Sarah Biddulph (Uni Melbourne), David Bray (Uni Sydney), David Brophy (Uni Sydney), Kevin Carrico (Monash U), Anita Chan (ANU), Feng Chonyi (UTS), Tom Cliff (ANU), Gloria Davies (Monash U), Darrell Dorrington (ANU), Steven Fitzgerald (ex Aus ambassador to China), Ivan Franceschini (ANU), Ken George (ANU), Jane Golley (ANU), Terence Halliday (American Bar Foundation and ANU), Baogang He (Deakin U), Linda Jaivin (ANU), Jon Eugene von Kowallis (UNSW), James Leibold (La Trobe U), Wah Guan Lim (UNSW), John Minford (ANU), Brian Moloughney, (Uni Otago), Kirin Narayan (ANU), Fan Ni (UWA), Michael Paton (Uni Sydney), Annie Luman Ren (ANU), Richard Rigby (ANU), Matthew Robertson (ANU), Stuart Russell (Macquarie U), Sally Sargeson (ANU), David Schak (Griffith U), William Sima (ANU), Craig Smith (Uni Melbourne), Warren Sun (Monash U), Sue Trevaskes (Griffith U), Jonathan Unger (ANU), Haiqing Yu (RMIT).

Appointments, achievements of the week

Mel Haines joins the Digital Health CRC as education manager, working with postgrads, postdocs, early career researchers and industry partners. She was previously with the University of Canberra.

Michael Bunce moves from Curtin U is to be chief scientist for the New Zealand Environmental Protection AgencyProfessor Bunce is a Curtin professor of molecular and life sciences.

An Australian-based team receives an honourable mention in the University of CaliforniaCase Studies in the Environment 2018 essay award. R. M. Colvin (ANU), G Bradd Witt (Uni Queensland) and Justine Lacey (CSIRO) are  noted for “Using a community vote for wind energy development decision-making in King Island, Tasmania,” December 2018

Southern Cross U announces three senior appointments for July;

Nicholas Ashbolt will become dean of environment, science and engineering. Professor Ashbolt joins from the University of Alberta – he was previously at UNSW. Yang Liu, also from Uni Alberta, will take up a one-year research professorship in black water. Peter Wilson moves from the University of Tasmania to work in the VC’s office, where he will work on SCU’s Japan Strategy.