Australian Research Council urged to consult … researchers

Physics researchers took the hit in the ARC pre-print shambles. Their discipline peak calls on the council to ensure there is no repeat

The obscure ban (in terms of need and researcher awareness) on pre-print citations in funding applications led to 32, almost all in physics-disciplines being thrown-out by the Australian Research Council. And now after an uproar the ARC has backed down (CMM Friday).

Whicb is what the Australian Institute of Physics wanted. As president Sven Rogge and his NSW colleague Nicholas Fisk explained IN CMM, citing of pre-prints in the physical sciences “is not only common practice but failure to do so can be considered unethical, (CMM August 31,  here ).

And now Professor Rogge welcomes the ARC dropping the ban and funding some of the originally excluded applicants.  “It is very late, but it is fair. I am thrilled since I know that some of these newly announced fellowships will change the career paths of fantastic upcoming scientists. I expect that the ARC will also apply the same framework to all the grant rounds that are not yet announced. These need to be announced as soon as possible to provide certainly to the researchers involved.”

And he suggests what should happen from now is continuing consultations with researchers, or their organisations.

“The AIP is looking forward to working with the ARC on reforms to ensure better consultation and transparency. We hope to avoid a single discipline, especially its early career researchers, being impacted so severely.”

It would make a change. As ARC chair Sue Thomas told a Senate committee asking how the ban happened, “we did not consult on it, we were not consulting universities on every mortal thing in 2020, which was probably the most extraordinary year of our lives,” (CMM November 1).