Compare the OA pair

On Friday UK Science Minister, Amanda Solloway announced a big (really big) open access policy (scroll down) and complimented the Australian Research Council for its. Generous to a fault is Ms Solloway. The ARC requires outputs from research it funds to be OA within 12 months. And if they are not, “for any reason, including legal or contractual obligations” they must be explained.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Work-integrated learning is critical to university-industry engagement but leadership is lacking. Sonia Ferns and Judie Kay, set out what needs to be done. It’s Contributing Editor Sally Kift’s new selection for her celebrated series, Needed now in teaching and learning.

Plus, The Federal Court has decided inventions by AI can be patented. Amanda-Jane George (CQU) explains how this happened and why it matters.

And Tim Winkler (Twig Marketing) on why it’s all over for open days.

No deal at Western Sydney U

Staff at Western Sydney U’s pathway provider, The College have emphatically rejected university management’s offer for a new enterprise agreement

College CEO Nicolene Murdoch advises that just under 80 per cent of staff voting were against it. The proposal was opposed by the WSU branch of the National Tertiary Education Union, which argued management can afford more than the 1.25 per cent pa pay-rise across the agreement on offer. The College paid $35m to the university last year, 50 per cent of 2020 earnings, up from $62m in 2019, (CMM August 6).

With bargaining now underway for a new agreement at the university itself, this is a bigger deal than it looks, demonstrating, that staff listen to the union and are inclined to oppose management-only offers. This is certainly the outcome at universities where managements have offered deals in recent years the union has opposed.

If WSU management was using the College offer to get a sense of what staff will accept they now have a good idea

Uni Newcastle accom lockdown

International House (Callaghan campus), is locked-down with three students testing positive for COVID-19

The risk window for contacts is July 28 – August 7.

Residents of the 221 bed facility are in isolation to August 14.  Visitors not in contact with a known case aren’t classed as close contacts.

The university states, “whilst we absolutely encourage people to seek support from each other, we should rely on trusted sources for information and data about cases, venues of concern, and restrictions that apply.”

Delay industry stay for PhD placements

Another peak body backs the government’s proposed industry internship for PhD students – with one big exception

The Innovative Research Universities lobby supports changes to the Research Training Programme, for PhD candidates to spend at least three-months in industry placements, saying it “has the potential to be part of a sound long-term strategy to ensure PhD employability and university-industry collaboration.”

However, IRU opposes the proposal for placements to occur in the first 18 months of study.  Instead it advocates a flexible approach to when, and in what format placements occur, to suit student-learning and industry need.

“A variety of arrangements, including an intensive block, intermittent, part-time and even virtual internships, would be productive, appropriate and of most benefit to the student, the supervisor and the industry partner … the key issue is that such flexibility is also crucial for the timing of the internship beyond the first 18 months.,” IRU states.

This is in-line with the Australian Council of Graduate Research which calls for later placements, “when PhD students have had a chance to develop their research expertise and transferable skills (CMM July 20).

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, which runs a placement programme for more than maths, agrees. Less than 10 per cent of the 637 PhD students it has placed in industry were in the 18 month of study (CMM July 22).

Negotiating across cultures

Uni Melbourne announces the first subjects in what will be a certificate qualification in negotiating treaties with Indigenous Peoples

“As Victoria and other Australian jurisdictions engage in the early stages of treaty negotiations, it is vital the parties involved have a fundamental understanding of the treaty process,” Uni Melbourne states.

The first two of four micro-certificates are Indigenous Treaties and Future Relations and Indigenous Governance Principles.

They will be taught by Sarah Maddison and Sana Nakata in October-November.

What’s next for the UTS community

With enterprise bargaining underway word is out that times are tough and will stay that way

UTS management expects to be in deficit through to 2023, targeting a surplus in 2024, with no prospect of any early arrangement to bring international students, including from China back.

While management is not suggesting relying on Chinese students could be a problem it might be. As the new QILT survey of on-shore internationals in 2020 revealed, students from the PRC were (with Malaysians) the least happy with their study experience in Australia last year (CMM August 6).

Enterprise bargaining at UTS will occur in the context of change, which presumably management would prefer to occur under the terms of the existing agreement rather than become caught up in negotiations for the next one. Deans are reviewing teaching and research priorities. People in Arts and Social Sciences already knows this means involuntary redundancies to help meet a $3.2m faculty savings target (CMM May 25).

The interface between faculties and admin divisions is also being reviewed by an external consultant. This is said to be about smoothing process rather than reducing staff, but UTS observers suggest any head-count savings could be hard to resist.

Bargaining will also occur with management looking for savings on employee costs, including caps on voluntary separation payments, moves to make staff take leave and a longer end of year shut down.

As to more pay in people’s pockets, there is talk of offering staff a lower super contribution rate, the nationally legislated 10 per cent – with the extra 7 per cent, which is paid across the university system, going to UTS wages. It would be a way for more pay without increasing costs.

At Alphacrusis College they’re going on a summer holiday

How long it will be took some staff by surprise

HR at Alphacrucis College (which teaches business, counselling, education, ministry, music “and beyond,”) advises staff of an extended Christmas shut-down, from December 7 to January 10. With a projected budget shortfall of up to 8 per cent for the year, college management wants to reduce the $1m unused leave liability.

The announcement clearly came as an alarming surprise to some in the college community. It was followed by an email from COO Greg Cortese, who sent an all-staff email at 12.08am the day after. “I would like to apologise for the lack of context around the email you have received from HR regarding the Christmas shutdown. It certainly was not our intention to stress you or cause confusion,” he stated.

Pastor Cortese also explained the need for savings. “There are many ways to reduce expenses and we have seen the drastic measures taken by other institutions, but we love our college and our community and we want to take the least disruptive approach as a first step.”

UK goes big on open access

Science funding agency UK Research and Innovation announces that from April next papers based on research it funds must be free to read immediately on publication 

UKRI will require articles to be either available via a journal or an institutional repository. The agency commits stg £46.7m ($88m) to fund fees for publication in journals.

But there appears to be no final position on covering author fees for journals that publish OA articles in paywalled publications –Springer, publisher of Nature asks €9500 ($A17900) per article.

The new policy will apply to monographs and book chapters from January2024.

The UK is in-line with the European Plan S and extends the international campaign to make new research free to read from publication.

However, UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway says, “we must all go further. There are still far too many articles that end up locked away behind paywalls – being cut off from an unimaginable range of useful applications in industry, in healthcare, or in wider society.”

UKRI’s announcement will increase attention on Australian funding agencies. The National Health and Medical Research Council announced in April it is looking at requiring papers based on research it funds to be OA. Chief Scientist Cathy Foley is also considering an OA strategy (CMM April 16).


Karen Strickland is the incoming executive dean of Edith Cowan U’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. She starts in November, moving from Uni Canberra. Also at ECU, as of January, Matthew Allen will be ED, Arts and Humanities. He is now an adjunct professor at U Tas.