Call for Audit Office to investigate Australian Research Council

The ARC’s brief ban on references to pre-prints in funding applications is gone – the damage done to the agency’s reputation continues

Green Senator Mehreen Faruqi wants the Australian National Audit Office to investigate the policy that saw research funding applications excluded from two recent rounds (CMM August 20 and umpteen subsequent stories).

Senator Faruqi tells the Auditor General, “the process was in some aspects irregular and not acceptable for an Australian Government agency.”

She adds, the rule was “developed and implemented through an inadequate process” and that its “application was not only unfair but inconsistent.”

The ANAO last routinely reviewed the ARC in 2019 and found its administration of the National Competitive Grants Programme to be overall ok (CMM August 2 2019).

Although the ANAO might be wondering now about its ’19 finding that the ARC has strategies to “effectively communicate with key stakeholders,” including “to provide information on NCGP guidelines.” The present mess was caused by researchers, many in physics, not knowing that the rule on referring to pre-prints in applications had changed.