[csaa-forum] CHASS Newsletter 21: December 2006

CHASS mail-list at chass.org.au
Mon Dec 4 16:26:31 CST 2006

Dear csaa-forum

CHASS Newsletter Number 21, for December 2006.

This new report examines the nature of collaborative activities between the
humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS) and science, technology,
engineering and medicine (STEM) sectors.

What issues do these collaborations tackle?  What benefits have they
produced?  Are there problems working with colleagues from a different
discipline?  Are there barriers which discourage people from collaborating?
How can we improve things?

The report concludes that some of the most exciting research and education
today has little regard for traditional disciplinary boundaries. For
example, research to help Australia's ageing population profile brings
together medical science, basic biology, engineering, social science and
arts and humanities.

The report finds that collaborative work holds great promise, and strenuous
efforts should be made to remove impediments which hinder researchers from
bringing their combined skills to bear on issues facing Australia.  It finds
that funding, institutional settings and reward systems in our research
organizations all tend to favour single-discipline work and discriminate
against multi-disciplinary collaborations.

It makes five broad recommendations.

Two versions of the report will be posted (short and long) on the CHASS web
site on Wednesday 6 December:  www.chass.org.au

Also available as hard copy from the CHASS office.

CHASS was asked by DEST to investigate the appropriateness of the citation
analysis process for History and Political Science.

Could some form of metrics be used to inform panel discussions in the RQF
(Research Quality Framework) process?  Data was collected from universities
round Australia, and then considered by two separate meetings of experts in

The answer? A qualified yes.  From our report to DEST: "an enriched
bibliometrics approach Š would be a useful component of the Quality measures
in the proposed Research Quality Framework if used to inform a peer-review

The full report to DEST and a background methodology paper have been posted
to our web site:  www.chass.org.au

CHASS is running a workshop for those involved in Panel 13: the visual and
performing arts, design and architecture.  It will be in Brisbane on Tuesday
27 February.  Details of registration and agenda will follow very soon.

We think there is a place for a broader discussion on approaches to the RQF,
to consider metrics, peer evaluation criteria and possible approaches to the
context statements. There is an urgent need to establish processes for the
13 panels to be set up in the RQF.

This workshop will build on discussions at an earlier workshop at the VCA in
Melbourne in September, and will complement other workshops DEST is

There will be one DEST workshop for each panel, with some like-minded panels
combined.  They will involve about a dozen experts, brought together to
formulate operational guidelines for panel deliberations.  DEST workshops
will take place in late Feb-early March (see item 5).

CHASS is running a workshop for all those disciplines that fall into Panel
13 in the RQF architecture, musicŠ. (see item above).

But is there a need for similar workshops for the disciplines grouped in
other panels?  

We'd be interested in hearing your views.  Contact: director at chass.org.au

The following announcement was sent to senior staff by an Australian

"Following the release of the Development Advisory Group's Recommended RQF
(http://www.research.qut.edu.au/data/rqf/index.jsp) on 14 November 2006,
DEST is proceeding with preparatory work to implement the RQF for 2008.
"One of the first tasks will be to conduct Discipline Workshops to help the
development of the panel-specific sections of RQF Guidelines. It is critical
that research leaders engage in this process to ensure that the final
guidelines reflect and accommodate the types of research undertaken across
the university and recognise research impact within the broader community.

"During these workshops, representatives of broad discipline areas will be
asked to provide input on:
€ the appropriate research outputs for the disciplines within the relevant
€ appropriate indicators to aid the assessment of research quality and
research impact; and
€ the type of supplementary information that can be included in a Research
Group's context statement.
The outcomes of these workshops will be published and will be used to draft
the Panel-specific sections of RQF Guidelines.
"Universities in Australia have been asked to forward a list of academics
who can provide expertise in research assessment in their discipline.  In
particular, DEST is seeking participants who can represent the views of the
broad disciplines covered by the Panel areas.  It will be necessary for
participants to demonstrate sufficient representation of the disciplines.
Expertise in peer assessment would be an advantage."

We'd suggest you contact the relevant officer at your university, if you are
interested.  This could be the DVC.

Seventeen MPs will attend the final dinner in our series bringing together
experts and MPs to discuss issues in our society.

Guest speaker is Professor Ross Homel, of Griffith University.  He will
discuss the "Pathways to Prevention Project", an innovative crime prevention
partnership between Mission Australia and the Key Centre for Ethics, Law,
Justice and Governance at Griffith University.

The project works with preschool children, aged 4-6, and their families
living in a disadvantaged suburb in the south west of Brisbane.  It is based
on the concept of "developmental prevention" or intervention at crucial
transition points which mark new experiences and relationships in life, such
as when a child starts school.

The report of the first five years of the Project will by launched by the
Prime Minister at Parliament House the next day, on Thursday 7 December.

The dinners are funded by the ANU, through VC Professor Ian Chubb

7.  BCA REPORT New Pathways to Prosperity
The Business Council has just issued a report which "highlights five
priorities for the creation of a framework that business believes are
necessary to improve and sustain Australia's innovation performance against
global competition."

Some BCA recommendations neatly complement those of the CHASS report on

See: http://www.bca.com.au/Content.aspx?ContentID=100878

To register to receive announcements, go to the following web sites:


And for an alternative view: see the "Love of Learning" speech by Opposition
spokesperson Lindsay Tanner to the Sydney Institute this month:

This month CHASS registered the Australian & New Zealand Association for
Medieval & Early Modern Studies (ANZAMEMS) as our hundredth Member.

And this is a fine and positive note to end my final newsletter for the
year.  Thanks for your support over 2006: I don't expect that 2007 will be
any easier.


Stuart Cunningham

You are subscribed to the mailing list for the CHASS newsletter.
Subscribers are invited to redistribute these reports with proper
attribution to the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

To subscribe to this list, register your email address at the CHASS website:
www.chass.org.au.  Unsubscribe by removing your name from this list.

The best way to keep abreast of activities in CHASS is to register to
receive our newsletter.  Add your name to our distribution list at the home
page of the CHASS web site:  Www.chass.org.au
Mr Toss Gascoigne
Executive Director
Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS)
28 Balmain Cres, ANU, ACT, AUSTRALIA
Postal address
PO Box 8157, ANU, ACT AUSTRALIA 2601
Ph: +61 2 6249 1995 OR +61 2 6230 7179
0408 704 442 (international +61 408 704 442)
Fax: +61 2 6247 4335
Email: director at chass.org.au
Web:  www.chass.org.au
ABN:  75 017 337 844

More information about the csaa-forum mailing list