Tertiary Update Vol 15 No 6
Pressure to publish research in international journals may be driving researchers away from undertaking research specific to New Zealand, according to TEU’s national president Dr Sandra Grey.
Government research funding (PBRF) rewards published and cited research, and that means that researchers who publish in large international journals will tend, on average, to rank better (and thus draw more research funding) than researchers who publish in small domestic journals.
Dr Grey is concerned that Marsden Grants over recent years may indicate a decline in New Zealand-specific research since the introduction of PBRF.
Between 1998 and 2000 about 16 percent of Marsden research grants clearly identified they were specific to New Zealand in their title. The number of research grants with titles that clearly identified they were specific to New Zealand has fluctuated since then, but appears to be falling. In the last three years (2009-2011) only 8 percent of Marsden research grants had titles that clearly identified they were specific to New Zealand (see graph below).
Dr Grey says there is a hint here that New Zealand research (or research that does not specify a link to New Zealand in the title) is not featuring as highly in Marsden research grants since around 2005.
“We need to be wary of inferring too much from this very simple measure, but we also need to be aware of the growing pressure on both academics and institutions to publish in places that earn them the most international prestige and citations.”
“As with any high-stakes measurements you get what you reward. Our current research ranking system may be putting New Zealand research under threat,” said Dr Grey.
Also in Tertiary Update this week:
- Training minimum wage discourages trades training
- Training Incentive Allowance cuts to be reconsidered?
- 2500 backroom sackings saved no money at all
- Arbitrary paper count to sack Sydney staff
“We hope Dr Andrew West, the new vice chancellor at Lincoln University, will see his role as leader of academics and of local people,” said TEU national president Dr Sandra Grey upon hearing of Dr West’s appointment. “Leaders do make a difference to universities, and we believe the best leaders are ones who are committed to, and currently engaged in academia, both teaching and research.” – TEU
The CTU condemned an announcement by Ports of Auckland yesterday that it intends dismissing over 300 port workers and proceed with contracting out their jobs. Helen Kelly, CTU President, said “It is an outrageous approach to bargaining for the Port management to say – accept every change we want in the collective agreement or we will sack all of you and replace you with contracted labour that has to accept every one of our demanded changes in hours of work, and rosters, and reductions in so many other conditions of work essential for safety and job security” – CTU.
Auckland University lobby group ‘We are the University’ is drafting an alternative strategic plan to challenge the draft strategic plan that council is about to consider. “We believe that the university is a community, not an enterprise. Therefore we feel that planning and vision should start with those who care most deeply about this institution, rather than those granted influence via the position of authority that they occupy.” – We are the University
The Virginia Supreme Court in the USA shut down an effort by the state’s attorney general to obtain records related to a former University of Virginia researcher whose work supports the widely accepted theory that climate change is a serious environmental issue. The attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, is a critic of climate change who is prominent in conservative Republican circles and argues that researchers’ private records might cast doubt on views of the environment backed by most scholars. Many academics have viewed Cuccinelli’s campaign as an invasion of their privacy and as an attempt to intimidate scientists with the threat that their work could be taken out of context –Inside Higher Ed