Sunday, 18 January 2009

Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

The Australian Research Council [ARC] is in the process of developing a similar evaluation exercise to the Research Excellence Framework [REF] in the UK. The Australian framework for evaluation, Excellence in Research for Australia [ERA], is more advanced than the REF and will use a mix of performance Indicators including citation analysis and peer review depending on the specific requirements of each discipline. The ERA divides research into 8 discipline clusters, which are further broken down into 157 sub disciplines, or Fields of Research [FoR] identified by four number codes.

One Indicator will be based on the ranking of c21,000 journals according to their standing relative to each other. Journals are assessed in 4 Tiers A* (All articles report Top level research of international standing), A (Most articles report Top level research of international standing), B (Few articles of high quality, a high proportion of articles by PhD and early career researchers), C (Journals not included in the higher tiers). Institutions and Discipline clusters can be assessed by what proportion of publications appear in journals in each category.The rankings are subject to Peer Review by subject experts.

Although, not as mathematically precise as rankings derived from citation analysis, they promise an interesting exercise in combining journal rankings with peer review. The final rankings will be made available during 2009. The 2008 list can be viewed here, listed by title and FoR (Field of Research).

Australian Research Council [ ARC ]
The Excellence in Research for Australia [ ERA ] Initiative
Research Excellence Indicators
Description of the Consultation process
ARC Journal Rankings 2008