ARC to change the way it rates research

The Australian Research Council announces new rules and requirements for Excellence in Research for Australia and Engagement and Impact

The ARC announced the review last August (CMM August 20) and now sets out a new “vision and objectives” for both schemes. “Rigorous and transparent research assessment informs and promotes Australian universities’ pursuit of research that is excellent, engaged with community, industry and government, and delivers social, economic, environmental and cultural impact,”

How metrics based on research publications demonstrate community engagement may not be immediately clear to all, but the ARC sets out a range of changes, many requiring work yet to be done, to deliver it

For ERA these include,

* use peer review to assess Indigenous research

* streamlining the submission process by aligning ERA requirements with existing data sets.

And then there are the big two,

* “recalibrating the ERA rating scale, the peer review and citation analysis assessment benchmarks, and the definition, appropriateness and application of the ‘world standard’ benchmark”

* empower assessment committees to exclude submitted information, “where significant miscoding has occurred and request a recalculation of citation profiles”

Key EI changes are,

* a new (to be developed by the ARC) definition of approach to impact, to, “provide clearer expectations” for universities and assessors

* a means to determine the number of impact studies required per unit of assessment

* “an expanded, more granular and meaningful rating scale for engagement, impact and approach to impact”

But what are not changing are the schedules for both ERA and EI,

“The ARC considers that three-yearly evaluation cycles are desirable for ERA and EI to ensure timely data

Unless they are,

“The ARC will consult with universities post-ERA 2023 to inform options on ERA and EI reporting frequency”