Physicists lose in ARC pre-print shambles

On instruction of the Senate, the Australian Research Council reported yesterday on grant applications ruled ineligible for breaking the rule against including any reference to pre-prints

17 Future Fellowship applications were excluded out of 675 and 15  out of 996 were cut from consideration for the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award.

All excluded applications were either in astronomy/space science or (mainly) from four FoR categories of physics.

The Australian Research Council responds to criticism of its rule, designed for a world where open access is not the biggest thing in research publication, with a non-response. “We appreciate your contribution to the discussion. We are looking into the issues raised and will respond as soon as we can,” the agency blands.

There are people who will be hoping that “soon” is quite a while awayresearch office staff in universities where DECRA applicants included references to pre-prints. The ARC says the rule is in the rules and was mentioned in briefings (CMM August 20).

But it appears word did not reach some researchers who needed to know. As Danny Kingsley points out (CMM August 23) physicists have been using pre-prints for 30 years. “Why were the serious implications of this requirement only noticed at the point where applications were excluded?” she asks.