Fwd: Australia's new ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia )

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 06:21:29 -0500

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Arthur Sale <ahjs - ozemail.com.au>
Date: Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 1:02 AM
Subject: The new ERA
To: JISC-REPOSITORIES - jiscmail.ac.uk


Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

This a brief and possibly mildly flawed summary of Australia's
equivalent to REF (and its predecessor RAE).

ERA will not evaluate all disciplines at the same time.
Instead it will do then in rolling clusters of disciplines over say 4
years, with the first two clusters off the rank being PCE (Physical
and Chemical Sciences) and HCA (Humanities and Creative Arts
including Architecture).

The evaluation process will be managed by the Australian
Research Council or ARC. (We have only two ? the other being
restricted to health and medical research).

Submissions for these two clusters will be called for
during 20 April to 8 May 2009. Australian universities are now busy
preparing them.

All researchers in these disciplines may participate, not
just selected groups.

The evaluation is heavily metric-based and low-cost. It is
heavily ICT-based.

The ICT system mediating this is called SEER (System to
Evaluate the Excellence of Research). Don't blame me for these
excruciating acronyms; I just report them.

Each university will make an XML submission to SEER (ie
uploading it) for each of these two clusters. The VC will have to
authenticate it. The XML submission will identify all relevant
researchers and all their research outputs, as well as having scope
for a limited set of Esteem fields. The XML .xsds are about to be
fixed for PCE and HCA; we have seen a consultation draft.

For the PCE cluster, that is it. The bread is cast upon the
waters. The evaluation will take place based on (ISI) metrics
collected by SEER based on the submission. Expert committees will
interpret the cases for Esteem, and make a judgement about the
validity of the metrics. There will be no peer review of research
outputs (ie research articles, etc). The relevant professional and
scientific societies agreed on this.

For the HCA cluster, the relevant bodies wanted flexibility
to have limited peer review of selected documents, titled RODA files
(Research Output Data Attributes, sorry). These are mostly music and
art performances and architectural designs/research.

Reviewers will log on to the SEER system which will give
them privileged access to the institutional repositories funded by
Australia (via a single system-system logon). This will enable the
reviewers to see even closed access (restricted) items if these are
cited in the submission. The repository URLs and contents of these
items must be stable over the evaluation. The repository must be
available 24/7 for the period of evaluation. Remember this applies
only to the HCA cluster.

The REF is treading a different path but Australia and the UK have
been talking to each other. This may influence the REF after this one
and vice versa as our ERA progresses.

Anyone wishing to delve deeper should start at
http://www.arc.gov.au/era/submission.htm. Corrections or additions
to this post welcomed from Australians and also ERA itself.



Arthur Sale

Emeritus Professor of Computer Science

University of Tasmania


Received on Thu Feb 19 2009 - 11:22:28 GMT

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