28 February 2014

Preparations for the third round of Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) are well and  truly underway.

ERA aims to identify and promote excellence across the full spectrum of research activity in Australia’s higher education institutions. It evaluates the quality of the research undertaken in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks.

This is the third ERA, with previous rounds in 2010 and 2012.

The ERA 2015 Reference Periods were released today, including the Census Date, which is 31 March 2014. Submission data for ERA is collected for reference periods for four data types: Research Outputs; Research Income; Applied Measures; and Esteem Measures.

On 10 January the ARC released the submission documentation (Submission Guidelines and Technical Specifications) for ERA 2015 for public  comment. This process concluded on 14 February. As a result, the ARC has received significant feedback from a range of stakeholders, including universities, peak bodies, discipline groups, other organisations and individuals.

The ARC greatly appreciates this feedback from the sector, and is currently reviewing comments in preparation for the release of the final ERA 2015 submission documentation for mid-2014.

The second public consultation period remains open and the ARC is still seeking feedback on the draft ERA 2015 Journal and Conferences Lists. These lists define outlets that are scholarly, peer reviewed, publish original research and which are eligible for ERA 2015 submissions. 

The journal and conference lists form an integral part of the ERA evaluation process. The lists provide components that will be used in the ERA 2015 methodology, including: defining the eligible Fields of Research (FoR) codes that research outputs may be assigned during the submission phase; and defining the outlets from which the citation benchmarks are derived.

There has been great interest in this consultation process already with more than 1500 users registered. Further detail about the purpose and  approach is available on the ARC website. This consultation period is scheduled to close on 14 March 2014.

ARC CEO, Professor Aidan Byrne, said he was extremely pleased with the sector’s response to date on the draft documents for ERA 2015.

“I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those in the  sector who have responded.

“I’d also like to acknowledge the many hours of work that the  ERA and ICT staff here at the ARC have put in to prepare the material for these consultation processes.

“While the ARC is working hard to consult as broadly as possible  through processes such as these, the ERA team is still involved in a range of consultations with the research community and has presentations scheduled at a number of universities over the coming months regarding ERA 2015.

“It is exciting but busy times for the team and the sector, and I look forward to the months ahead,” Professor Byrne said.