Australia votes

From: Arthur Sale <>
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 10:09:27 +1100

Yesterday, Australia held a Federal Election. The Australian Labor
Party (the previous opposition) have clearly won, with Kevin Rudd
becoming the Prime-Minister-elect.


What has this to do with the list? Well the policy of the ALP is that
the plans for the Research Quality Framework (the RQF - our research
assessment exercise) will be immediately scrapped, and it will be
replaced by a cheaper and metrics-based assessment, presumably a year
or two later.


At first sight this is a setback for open access in Australia,
because institutional repositories are not essential for a
metrics-based research assessment. They just help improve the
metrics. However, the situation may be turned to advantage, and there
are several major pluses.

(1)    Previous RQF grants should have ensured that every university
in Australia now has a repository. Just mostly empty, or mostly dark,
or both.

(2)   The advisers in the Department of Education, Science &
Technology (DEST) haven't changed. The Accessibility Framework (ie
open access) is still in place as a goal.

(3)   A new metric-based evaluation could and should be steered to be
a multi-metric based one. The ALP has already stated that it will be

(4)   If the Rudd government is serious about efficiency in higher
education, they could simply instruct DEST to require universities to
put all their currently reported publications in a repository (ID/OA
policy), from which the annual reports would be automatically
derived. In addition all the desired publication metrics would also
be derived, at any time. The Accessibility Framework would be


It should now be crystal clear to every university in Australia that
citations and other measures will be key in the future. It should be
equally clear that they should do everything possible to increase
their performance on these measures. Any university that fails to
immediately implement an ID/OA mandate (Immediate Deposit, Open
Access when possible) in its institutional repository is simply
deciding to opt out of research competition, or mistakenly thinks
that it knows better. Although I suppose there is still the weak
excuse that it is all too hard to understand or think about.


Here is the edited text of a press release by the shadow minister
before the election. The boldface over some paragraphs is mine.


Arthur Sale

Professor of Computer Science

University of Tasmania




Senator Kim Carr
Labor Senator for Victoria
Shadow Minister for Industry, Innovation, Science and Research

Thursday, 15 November 2007 (58/07)

Building a strong future for Australian research

Federal Labor's key research initiatives, announced during
yesterday's Campaign Launch, highlight our commitment to a research


A Rudd Labor Government will be committed to rebuilding the national
innovation system and, over time, doubling the amount invested in R&D
in Australia.


·     Labor will bring responsibility for innovation, industry,
science and research into a single Commonwealth Department.

·     Labor will develop a set of national innovation priorities to
sit over the national research priorities.  Together, these will
provide a framework for a national innovation system, ensuring that
the objectives of research programs and other innovation initiatives
are complementary.

·     Labor will abolish the Howard Government's flawed Research
Quality Framework, and replace it with a new, streamlined,
transparent, internationally verifiable system of research quality
assessment, based on quality measures appropriate to each discipline.
These measures will be developed in close consultation with the
research community. Labor will also address the inadequacies in
current and proposed models of research citation.  Labor's model will
recognise the contribution of Australian researchers to Australia and
the world.


·       Labor recognises the importance of basic research in the
creation of new knowledge, and also the value and breadth of
Australian research effort across the humanities, creative arts and
social sciences as well as scientific and technological disciplines.

The Howard Government has allocated $87 million for the
implementation of the RQF.  Labor will seek to redirect the residual
funds to encourage genuine industry collaboration in research.

Received on Sat Nov 24 2007 - 23:35:10 GMT

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