[csaa-forum] HERDC/ERA criteria

Jonathan Stratton J.Stratton at curtin.edu.au
Wed Mar 2 11:45:20 CST 2011

  Hi Everybody,
     As we all digest the ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) results for our own universities I am wondering how our various universities are coping with a decision that the people who administer  HERDC (Higher Education Research Data Collection) made a couple of years ago.  This involves edited collections.  As you may, or may not, know HERDC does not consider the editing of collections as research and a contribution to knowledge.  However, it does count chapters published in edited collections.  Thus, for HERDC the editing of collections goes unacknowledged.  Moreover, as HERDC does not count edited collections so, I understand, the ERA data collection likewise does not count edited collections. 
     Now, at Curtin, where there has been a big push for some years to increase research, the R&D people have tied the criteria for research very closely to HERDC/ERA.  Thus, for example, staff that publish in A and A* ranked journals are more rewarded than staff that publish in B and C ranked journals.  And, staff that edit collections are not given any credit for this.  The only acknowledgement in research terms for editing a collection comes if one has a chapter in that collection.  Thus, there is no encouragement for editing collections--even though having a chapter in a edited collection brings rewards.  I am sure that I don't need to spell out the logic of this!
    So, I am wondering how other unis are dealing with this situation.  I am also wondering if any institution has lobbied HERDC about this.
Dr Jon Stratton, Professor of Cultural Studies,
Curtin University.
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