New Zealand specific research under pressure from PBRF

Posted By TEU on Mar 8, 2012 |

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:

  1. Training minimum wage discourages trades training
  2. Training Incentive Allowance cuts to be reconsidered?
  3. 2500 backroom sackings saved no money at all
  4. Arbitrary paper count to sack Sydney staff

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