2018 Excellence in Research Assessment begins

A message from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Wayne McKenna:

The 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment has officially commenced with all participating institutions granted access to ARC systems yesterday, 19 March. Whilst internal preparations have been in under way for some time, over the coming month we will continue to refine our submission, eliminating errors to ensure the utmost accuracy of our data before systems close on 17 April.

ERA, administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC), seeks to enhance research standards in higher education institutions across Australia. In ranking performance and incentivising improvement, ERA forms an important indicator of performance and growth in the sector, revealing the research strengths of institutions across Australia, as well as encouraging development and improvement in areas performing below world standard.

ACU will be assessed in a range of disciplines, determined by the number of outputs published across the period 2011 to 2016. For assessed citation disciplines (11-Health and Medical Sciences and 17-Psychology and Cognitive Sciences) performance is evaluated by comparing the relative number of citations (RCI) of all publications within a field of research (FoR) with a known citation benchmark. As we near the date of final submission we are now in a position to evaluate how these disciplines are tracking and to project our performance.

Those four-digit citation FoRs in which we received a score of 5 (‘well above world standard’) in the ERA 2015 round – 1106-Human Movement and Sports Science0; 1110-Nursing; 1117-Public Health; 1701-Psychology - are tracking well, with each currently returning an RCI comparable with the previous submission. This status holds promise for a sustained or improved performance in these areas in 2018.

Notably, a number of FoRs not ranked in previous submissions will be included in our 2018 assessment for the first time. These include 1102-Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology, 1103-Clinical Sciences, 1111-Nutrition and Dietetics, and 1702-Cognitive Sciences, each of which is strong and also expected to perform well in the coming assessment.

In additional to these citation codes, ACU will again be assessed in a number of peer review disciplines, including 22-Philosophy and Religious Studies. A strategic priority area, four-digit codes in this FoR are being carefully reviewed to ensure the veracity of our submission. No institution has ever been awarded an ERA score of 5 in 2204-Religion and Religious studies but, noting our publication profile in this FoR, we expect to repeat, or improve upon, our strong 2015 score of 4 (‘above world standard’).

Final certification of the ERA submission will take place in May and, with the ARC’s review and expert assessment to follow in the ensuing months, we expect results to be released in early 2019. The number of FoRs in which ACU is ranked ‘above world standard’ is, however, likely to increase: we are on track to improve on our strong ERA 2015 performance.

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