Less is more

CMM’s Keep-it-Brief correspondent reports research that finds, “articles with short titles describing the results are cited more often”

Brazilian researcher Carlos Eduardo Paiva and colleagues looked at articles published in PLoS and Biomed Central journals to find short titles “presenting results and conclusions” are associated with higher citation counts.

What does not work as well are headlines with question-marks and which are location-specific.

The authors suggest; “shorter-titled articles are cited more often because they are viewed more often.”

Who would have thought.

An example of what Mr Paiva and colleagues don’t have in mind has landed on the KiB correspondent’s desk, Simon McGrath et al. “New VET theories for new times: the critical capabilities approach to vocational education and training and its potential for theorising a transformed and transformational VET.” (Journal of VET, June 25).

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Marina Harvey (UNSW) and colleagues on reflections in teaching and learning. It’s this week’s pick by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift

 UNSW DVC Merlin Crossley’s  full-throated praise for Australian universities and why we dare not put them at risk.

Nigel Penny  warns universities won’t be resuming normal-service. The time to be working on new business models is now.

Michael Tomlinson asks, what are the jobs the government wants graduates to be ready for?

Beautiful one day perfect at a date to be fixed

Griffith U is up-skilling people in tourism for when it comes back

Sarah Gardiner has created a four-module short-course on rebuilding business.  Smart move, introducing what GU can do to people who want to get back in the industry. It also builds Griffith’s brand beyond conventional degrees, with completers qualifying for a digital badge. Presumably it will be one of GU’s  e-badges, via Credly, that people can digitally attach to their CVs.

Pandemic, policy, prudence: VCs assure staff on the Tehan plan

With Monash U staff voting today on a proposal to defer a pay rise to protect jobs the vice chancellor addressed the government’s new funding plan

“I know that many of you will be anxious about its implications for your employment in these very difficult times, as well as for the quality of education and research in the future,” Vice Chancellor Margaret Gardner told staff in Friday evening message.

Professor Gardner assured staff that existing public funding will continue and that the university’s proposal holds. This includes staff agreeing to deferring an agreed pay rise and purchasing extra leave in return for protecting 190 of 467 jobs at risk from COVID-19 cuts.

But beyond that; “there will be many changes to be dealt with in the months ahead, above the very many with which we are already grappling,” she said.

Professor Gardner warned the government will require CSP funding and student contributions must both go to “their education only.” The federal budget, she said has to address the cost of research which is not now covered by funding specifically allocated to it.

And she wants the government to contribute more to the cost of a CSP for all students, which will not now be the case in law, economics, business and HASS. “This matter of equitable contributions to education, as with research funding, are ones on which action is needed.”

“We must cleave to what matters for the future of our society and our environment – and we must do so most particularly now when it seems most difficult to do so,” she says.

At Uni SA David Lloyd tells staff prudence is protection

 The vice chancellor reminded staff Friday that a prudent financial approach had made it possible to pay the enterprise agreement salary increase.

As to the government’s new plan, management will work out what it means and respond, prudently.

Time will tell what impact the proposed reform actually has on demand or enrolment patterns. In a year with so much turbulence, this is just one more consideration for us to have front of mind as we model our possible futures.”

And, in-line with his earlier response to COVID-19 financial losses, – “we’ve got this,” (CMM April 20) Professor Lloyd adds that whatever emerges from the government’s new model; “we are pretty good at holding space for alternate futures.”

Underpayment problem at Uni Melbourne

The Faculty of Arts says sessionals they can ask for a review of what they were paid

A message from the faculty states, it previously “had in place a practice of paying casual employees a set rate for marking which, on occasion, may have resulted in the casual not being paid for the entire hours actually worked.”

The faculty was paying people according to its own performance expectations, which were marking 4000 words/20 papers an hour, rather than hours worked.

This, as the National Tertiary Education Union argued long and hard, was in breach of the university’s enterprise agreement.

So, sessional staff now can ask for a review of what they were paid. Learned readers urge people who do get the email to pass it on to others no longer in-touch with the university, or refer them direct.

The Arts under-count looks like a pay problem of the same sort as occurred at Uni Melbourne’s School of Computing and Information Systems between June 2015 and December 2018 (CMM October 30 2019).

New in the academic integrity arsenal

The first thing the new TEQSA integrity enforcement squad will want is water cannon

But after that the scholarly SWAT team will be pouring over Tracey Bretag’s (Uni S) new edited anthology, A Research Agenda for Academic Integrity, (Edward Elgar, ebook price Euro €25). It’s “an in-depth analysis of emerging threats to academic integrity, and practical, evidence-based recommendations for creating cultures of integrity.”

It follows her well regarded Handbook of Academic Integrity, published four years back, (CMM June 2 2016). So well regarded that publisher Springer originally slapped a €499 price on it.

Slow passage to India

India needs VET training and lots of it next year.

In 2018 Peter Varghese’s pointed to Indian Government estimates that “an additional 120 million skilled workers will be required by 2022, fuelling demand for vocational training.”  He suggested governments should “position Australia as the foreign provider of choice for India’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system.”

The Commonwealth’s onto it. There’s a new MOU between the Department of Education, Skills and Employment with the Indian Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, in part to, “facilitate linkages between VET providers, and between industry and VET providers in both countries through targeted collaborative programmes, meetings, conferences and symposia.”

So that’s fixed.

A free speech win in Warsaw

Uni Sydney academic Wojciech Sadurski has won a drawn-out court case in Poland 

Last year the Challis Professor of Jurisprudence tweeted that the governing Law and Justice Party, is “an organised criminal group.”  (CMM December 4,5 2019). The party sued, for an apology but a Warsaw court has found the tweet was an expression of opinion.

There is more to this than a tweet, Professor Sadurski’s book Poland’s Constitutional Breakdown (OUP, 2019) argues, “by undermining the separation of powers, the ruling party concentrates all power in one hand, thus rendering any democratic accountability illusory.”

Both the Australian Association of University Professors and Uni Sydney spoke up for Professor Sadurski last year.

Appointments, achievements

Jolanda Jetten (Uni Queensland) wins the European Association of Social Psychology’s lifetime achievement award.

The Snow Family Foundation announces $8m over eight years  for fellowships for early and mid-career biomedical researchers. Inaugural fellows are Marian Burr (ANU), James Hudson (QIMRBerghofer MRI) and Owen Siggs (Garvan Institute of MR).