Rating research metrics: excellent and otherwise

The Australian Research Council is asking for expert opinion on its two main performance measures. The learned Innovative Research Universities obliges

The Innovative Research Universities lobby is broadly happy with the main research measurement metric, Excellence for Research in Australia but the second assessment, Engagement and Impact, requires “substantive change.”

The IRU’s submission to the ARC’s review of the two schemes (CMM August 20), calls for eight changes, including;

* adding research volume to the rating of disciplines by each university

* combine the “engagement” and “approach to impact” categories in EI

* extending citation analysis to fields where universities are now rated on peer review

* alternate ERA and EI every six years, with EI next

IRU also advocates a stronger-sell of the research achievements ERA and EI report. “It is unsurprising that perceptions of the Australian public of how investments in research translate into tangible benefits beyond academia is lacking.”

A way to assist with this would be to make ERA data more available, and transparent. “Currently there is no public data to indicate the size and composition of the research workforce or funding by field at an institutional level, or to identify research volumes by field and geographical and regional areas.”