Spotting an ethical editor

Before you agree to publish in the “Journal of Excellent and Low Author Fee Science” check TEQSA’s A-Z of advice, HERE

And sensible they all are, albeit demonstrating an admirable faith in publisher goodness. Thus Y(for “you”) states,

“Legitimate publishers and journal editors want to help you! They are approachable and will answer publishing-related enquiries and clarifications,” entirely true – just not always in the same year.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Frank Larkins on NSW university financials last year: the best may have already happened,HERE.

he joins James Guthrie, who considers what NSW annual reports reveal and don’t, HERE.

plus Verity Firth (UTS) on the Carnegie Commission on community service standards expanding in Australia, HERE.

with Angela Carbone and Kerryn Butler-Henderson (both RMIT) who warn that significant barriers to women achieving leadership in higher education teaching and learning remain. This week’s selection by Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s for her celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching. HERE .


Uni Adelaide still innocent of mansplaining

Despite appearance

“You too can study a Masters in Mansplaining at Uni Adelaide”  tweeted the Melbourne City of Literature’s handle yesterday.

It accompanied a pic of an advertising hoarding showing a bloke talking at five bored-looking young women, with the Uni Adelaide logo to the left.

But what looks a fair cop isn’t.

The university image is part of a separate adjacent hoarding for its Institute of Machine Learning. The mansplaining is in an advert for state government agency Renewal South Australia.

CMM knows this because he checked it out when the image was a social media-monster, four years ago (CMM July 2 2018).

What’s next for researchers? CMM asks experts with ideas

People get research can help everybody – the pandemic proved that

But popularity does not set priorities and researchers face new challenges of purpose and priorities. Join policy experts and opinion shapers at CMM-Twig Marketing’s on-line conference next week, “What’s next for the people who can save the world.”  Details HERE.

Unis Aus message: we’re here to help

The previous government did not bother to disguise its contempt for much of the work of universities. The new government is big on the importance of VET. Universities Australia needs a re-set

UA chair John Dewar (VC La Trobe U) has a chance today when he speaks at the National Press Club.

Professor Dewar is expected to address issues where his members variously want change, such as to the previous government’s Job Ready Graduate package, and to push perennials – research funding and more undergraduate places.

But his overall message is anticipated to focus on demonstrating what universities deliver, including the essential role of health and medical graduates in the pandemic and the importance of universities as employers of large numbers of people who aren’t academics and as engines of economic expansion.

The address may offer a contrast in style with that of former chair, Margaret Gardner, who engaged directly with government, criticising the coalition in 2018 for there being “money to cut taxes but cuts to education (CMM January 16 2018). Last year Professor Gardner, speaking as VC of Monash U, suggested a “buffer body” as the place for funding and political issues, “in ways that are considered and not driven by populist politics (CMM October 13 2021).

The  Government’s JobReady Graduate problem

Jason Clare did not create it but it is his now

Education Minister Jason Clare says the previous government’s UG funding model will be reviewed in the context of the accord with universities, “that we have committed to developing over the course of the next few months,” (CMM June 27.)

This will be a problem for the government, just not of its making. For a start as Ian Marshman points out JRG will not be easily unravelled (CMM’s Expert Opinion, June 14 HERE ).

And then there is the expectation that humanities students should not have to pay, as originally set by JRG, 14 500 a year for the cost of their course, while the Commonwealth contributes $ 1100 (bized and law undergrads are similarly slugged). In contrast degrees the previous government approved of originally cost students $3900.

The problem is easily fixed if the government wants to increase its contribution ad lower those of students, both by quite a bit. But it is a hard to solve if the treasurer and finance minister don’t.

Back in 2020 the Innovative Research Universities proposed a moderating alternative  to a  Senate inquiry – including varying student charges, by modesty increasing the lowest fee categories and modestly reducing the highest ones, with increases in what universities received per student place. But there were two problems with the plan. One, is that students and academics whose disciplines would be charged more would complain louder than those who would pay less would applaud. The other is that it would cost the Commonwealth more than JRG now does.

However there are other unpopular aspects in the JRG which might be more easily addressed, such as ending the no HECs for students with a 50 per cent fail rate rule, which critics say is unfair to equity group students adjusting to study. At least it would give the government a change to point to.

Claire Field on what the census did not reveal about student numbers


There was a flurry of media last week on the apparent shift in young people choosing VET over university as their post-school destination

The claims were triggered by the release of the first data from the 2021 Census. Some experts suggested that this shift was due in large part to the former government’s focus on apprenticeships and the trades.

While detailed data from the 2021 Census is not yet available, the ABS noted ahead of last year’s Census that “key users of Census data have raised concerns about the under-estimation of people attending preschool and vocational education and training. Several minor changes have been made to the instructional text and the response categories to give more clarity to these educational institution types.”

When looking at the 2016 and 2021 data on “attendance at an educational institution” it is important to keep in mind that while there has been an increase in the number of Census respondents stating that they were studying at a VET provider, overwhelmingly Australian school leavers still prefer higher education as a destination to VET (according to the Census data).

Equally importantly, in 2021 there were nearly 1.5m people who answered yes to the question “are you attending school or another type of education institution?” and then did not tick a box at the next question to identify which kind of institution they were attending. They made up 18 per cent of all people who said they were attending school or another education institution in the 2021 Census.

By comparison in 2016 there were 1.7m people (24 per cent) who were in the same position, i.e. they filled in the Census saying they were studying but then didn’t go on to specify the institution type.

So the ABS has been successful in getting more people who are attending an educational institution to give details of the type of institution, although sizeable numbers still leave the question blank. And what this means is that while there has been a growth since 2016 in people reporting they were enrolled at an education institution on Census night, at least some of the apparent growth in VET enrolments is just as likely due to more people filling in their Census form correctly.

Claire Field was joined on the latest episode of the ‘What now? What next?’ podcast to discuss changes in apprenticeships and VET qualifications by Victoria University’s Lizzie Knight.

Appointments, achievements

Angie Hendrick (Uni New England) becomes public officer of the Council of Australasian University Directors of Information Technology and remains the Australian member.

David Lamb (Food Agility CRC) receives the International Society of Precision Agriculture’s  Precision Agriculture Award.

Clifford Lewis (Charles Sturt U) is named a “research hero” by the Market Research Society of the UK. According to MRS “His research focuses on inclusive marketing and research practice focusing on LGBTQIA+ people.”

Swinburne U announces two new deans. Jim Ogloff is appointed dean of Health Sciences. James Verdon is dean Social Sciences, Media, Film and Education. Both have acted in the roles during selection processes.

Andrew Turpin is the inaugural Lions Curtin Chair in Ophthalmic Big Data at Curtin U. Professor Turpin will move from Uni Melbourne in November.