Professor Phyllis Tharenou, Executive Dean, Faculty of Social and

Managing the raising of research
Professor Phyllis Tharenou
Executive Dean
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Flinders University
A Golden Rule for individuals to improve Research Outputs:
2 or 3 or 4 for 1
• Measuring research performance
– Research outputs
• Publications, external research income
• How to improve research performance
– Increasing capacity
• Recruitment, PhD students, data analysis support
– Supporting areas of research strength
– Associated systems to support research
– Developing a culture for research
– Conclusion: Strategy
Measuring Research Performance
Why measure school research performance?
Evidence-basis to make decisions
Assess progress eg uni goals, ERA criteria
Compare to benchmarks
Decide where to focus: For example —
Support areas of strength or progress, or
Improve areas of weak performance, or
Leave some disciplines/schools focused on teaching
Decide what to focus on to improve or support: For example —
Quantity &/or quality publications
Research income and which type of grants
% of staff with PhDs
% of research active staff
Measuring Research Performance
What do you measure?
Total publications (include A1, B1, C1, E1); quality eg A*/A;
also per FTE
Total research grant income or per FTE (Cats 1-4; all count
in ERA )
HDR load and time enrolled (and completions)
Research-active staff, non-research active
Benchmark measures:
Always over time eg 5 year trends,
Against other schools, faculties, external benchmarks eg
What level eg institutes?, schools?, faculties?
Research Performance: Publications
• Why publications are so important; eg
– Lead to government funding eg ERA
– Quality/quantity influence other successes in research
• eg ARC grants, invitations, reputation, promotion
– Main measure of research activity
• Journal ranks: a measure of quality
– Ranking of impact factors eg
• Web of Science Journal Citation Reports
• Also other schemes eg Scopus: SJR at &/OR
– A publicly available, credible ranking scheme eg
• Oz Business Deans Council, others
• A*, A, B, C, unranked
– Also have ranks for Teaching journals eg
Currie & Pandher. 2013. Management education journals’ rank and tier by active
scholars. Academy of Management Learning and education, 12 (2), 194-218.
Research Performance: Publications
• Citations
– Why important
• Measure of quality, counted for some disciplines in ERA
• Leads to other successes
– Count no. of cites and benchmark for:
(1) a person’s publishing career: h-factor
(2) an individual paper
– At least 3 schemes:
• Web of Science/ISI,
• Scopus,
• Google scholar/Publish or Perish
(Harzing, Anne-Wil. (2010) The Publish or Perish Book: your guide to effective and
responsible citation analysis. Tarma Software Research Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Australia).
Research Performance: Publications
How to increase a paper’s citations
In journals with large readership nos. (eg international)
In a top journal by quality measures i.e., hi impact factors
A new contribution, a quality research design, top theory
On a hot topic or one of broad interest with lots of scholars
As part of a research program over time; where your name is
– Using a direct title representing the topic
– In a journal that researchers in the field get or is easy to
– etc.
Research Performance: External Income
Category 1 grants (eg ARC, NHMRC)
To help attain:
Improve track record/ROPE: publication quality/quantity
Provide training on writing/strategy, workshop drafts
Give expert ‘stranger’ feedback on drafts
Develop team applications
Apply strategy (eg success rates) eg Linkage 45% vs Discovery 22%
Cat. 2 (other public sector) and 3 (industry/for profit
companies) grants
May not be competitive
Can be nontraditional research income if Research Office
assesses as it as research in full or part
Ensure reported for HERDC, train prof & academic staff to ensure
Research Performance: Cont’d Cat. 2 & 3 grants
Cat. 2 (other public sector) and 3 (industry/for profit
companies) grants
eg consulting projects; government non-research
fellowships (eg ALA); at times PhD scholarships
Contract research
Consulting that involves research (clearly identified)
Grants from professional associations
For example:
Cat 2: Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, Endeavour
Awards, AUSAID tenders and grants eg Australian Leadership
Award Fellowships;
Cat. 3: ICAA, Fullbright scholarships, Ian Potter, for-profit
companies if part or all of consulting can be assessed as research
Others eg private companies if part is research
Research Performance: Cont’d Cat. 2 & 3 grants
Participation in research panels to enable greater chance
of selection for Cat. 2 grants
– Various government departments & orgs. set up own panels of
academics from successful tenders eg
• Australian Public Services Commission , DIISRTE & DEEWR, FACSIA
– Work is project/contract mgt, report writing, data collection etc.
– eg 2013 Request For Tenders for panels of researchers:
Leadership, Learning and Development Panel (Capability Development)
Executive Search and Recruitment Panel
eLearning Support Services and Solutions Panel
Research Services Panel
Participatory Planning, Research and Evaluation Panel
Provision of Social Policy Research, evaluation and investment in
data and professional development service.
Research Performance: External Income
Category 4: CRCs (including nodes)
Especially for gaining PhD scholarships
Capacity: Recruitment
Hiring is most successful way of quickly improving research
performance: expensive
Research leaders
Mid level staff with research records or lower level with
Strategic hiring
What selection criteria — ARC success, top/A* publications
Who does it — PVC/Exec Dean, Head – needs $s, part of uni strategy
Sources — domestic and international scholars
Identify and actively pursue possible top recruits
Hire to develop a research area or support an area of strength
Also may need initial $ support eg hire other staff, PhD
student scholarships, infrastructure
Capacity: PhD Students
To work with academics and publish together: increases
publication rate
Sources eg own honours students, international applicants
Provide support to complete in good time and to publish
Sufficient no. of supervisors to take good applicants
Good supervision eg operational fb, regular meetings, other
Scholarships and loadings
Conference paper support linked to PhD
Infrastructure where needed
Support for data collection
Support for assistance with, and training in, data analysis techniques
Capacity: Data Analysis Support
Fulltime research fellow for faculty or large school to work with
staff and students to gain research outputs: expensive
Eg for:
Submission of journal articles
Analysis for student theses – PhD, Honours
Support grant applications esp. Category 1
Guides/helps with design of data collection and data analysis
Develops capacity in practical data analysis, underlying statistics
Lectures research methods with staff
To retain a good research fellow eg
Is an author on journal articles they do analyses for & helps write
Give teaching opportunities, other development
Provide opportunity for a permanent position and promotion
Supporting Areas of Research Strength
Support areas of research strength: eg
Schools or Departments/Disciplines, or
Groups/discipline clusters
Staffing, training, mentoring, other support, infrastructure
Decide which areas to develop – 3 or 4
Provide support to grow research groups
Take advantage of opportunities to hire leaders who
can develop research groups and will attract staff,
postdocs, and PhD students
Associated Systems to Improve Research
Workload Models
Proportion of activities for balanced role eg 30-50:3050:20
Include time for targeted research achievements eg
carrying out Cat. 1/ARC grants, PhD supervision within
time (???past or current research outputs)
Increased teaching or other loads for non-researchers
Teaching-focused roles if university policy allows
Align new teaching developments with research
Associated Systems to Improve Research
Performance Management
Determine non-research active staff (do more of other things)
Determine if should be teaching-focused staff
Assess if research professors continue in that role based on
Determine individual research goals
Discuss staff retirement or transition out if needed, be
Associated Systems to Improve Research
Research Management
Support by Heads of Schools
School policies
Workload models
Conference support for full papers that give submissions
Publishing support eg databases, other infrastructure
Mentoring, research clusters, training
Research leadership in schools eg
Director of research, HDR coordinator, Honours coordinator
Mentoring by research mentors/profs/assoc profs
Associated Systems to Improve Research
Research Management (continued)
Faculty support:
Specialist expertise & across-faculty training
Training & development of staff skills (eg pubs/A*, ARC grants)
Small Research Grants scheme
On draft ARC grants eg reader feedback, expert advice
Data analysis support
Associated Systems: Compensation
Rewards for gaining specific targeted research outputs eg
Research-only positions for top researchers with specified
outputs eg ARC grants
Support for regular international research conference
participation linked to outputs where
Submitting full papers with refereeing, subsequently submitted
Can make collaborations, form alliances for research; and
Can keep up with top international scholars
Support for travel to events of top/A* local research networks
Support for PhDs to publish eg prizes, full conference papers
submitted linked to thesis
Associated Systems: Developing a Staff Profile
Hire staff with PhDs as a matter of policy
Consider expensive nonresearch active staff close to retirement
for transition out
Support ECRs/postdocs: mentoring, encourage applications to
available university schemes
Support future research leaders
Reward research active staff to retain
Actively replace research active staff/leaders who leave
In particular areas, improve completions of PhDs by staff
Developing a Research Culture
Ensure regular signals that support research while
supporting good teaching eg
Strategic recruitment; selection criteria include relevant
research outputs (PhD, publications, ext. grants)
dependent on level
Regular training for research outputs
Mentoring programs
School seminar programs, Working paper series
Small grants schemes, top research conference support
Regularly measure research performance and present back
Celebrate success of researchers at all levels
Support successful research groups and individuals
Support ECRs, PhDs
Strategically support research initiatives if linked to outputs eg
Visitors’ programs, conference attendance, HDR
activities, school small grant schemes
Conclusion: Strategy
• Develop resource allocation and investment to reward
research performance and build areas of research strength
Focus investment into priority areas with potential for success
Invest in internal grant funding schemes to support research projects
with high potential
Support development programs for publishing eg workshops, teams
Link investment in their research activity to a person’s performance
• Develop stretch, realistic targets for research outputs
Seek improvement in ERA rankings (eg from 1 to 2, 2 to 3)
Help staff apply for Cats 2, 3 & 4 income not just Cat 1/ARC
Form strong links with industry groups and government agencies
• Manage staff performance and recruit research-active staff
Recruit top researchers who can work with others internally to gain
ARC grants and publish in top journals
Align new appointments with priority areas of research strength
Conclusion: Strategy
Develop a common measure of research performance for all
academics to influence decisions on support, roles and workloads
“Encourage” staff in balanced portfolio roles to be research active
Ensure roles, workloads and performance management processes
foster research focus and support research excellent staff
Reward research in workload schemes but tricky
• Support scale and focus: eg research strengths & teams
Support collaborating where possible to create critical mass
Support possible new research centres (eg hi-performing areas)
• Support new researchers
Build a cohort of national and international PhD students and
integrate them with research teams
Support gaining of & resources for PhD students to complete
Support development of promising ECRs through workloads,
targeted funding and development schemes eg mentoring

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