ARC drops pre-print ban for future awards

The agency adjusts to the obvious

The Australian Research Council has retreated from its ban on references to pre-prints in grant applications. This led to 15 applications being excluded from the recent Discovery Early Career Researcher Award round and 17 from Future Fellowships.

The application of the recently introduced and widely unrecognised rule created uproar last month, not least among applicants and their supporters in physics, where pre-prints have been part of research publication for a generation.

The ARC now states, that “the adjustment” to its policy, “reflects contemporary trends and the emerging significance of preprint acceptance and use across multiple research disciplines as a mechanism to expedite research and facilitate open research, as well as to provide greater equity across disciplines and career stages.”

Which does not answer the obvious question – why was the ARC so out of touch with “contemporary trends” in research practise?

As to researchers already excluded? “We must allow our standard application and appeals processes to be completed for these cases,” the ARC states.