Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Open Access – A Race Half Run (Keir Strickland)


Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash
Next week (October 23rd-29th) is the 10th annual International Open Access Week, a global event which aims to promote the benefits of Open Access to researchers and academics through events and activities both on- and offline. A week to extol the virtues of Open Access, to celebrate how far we’ve come in the last decade and, arguably, a week to recognise how much further we still have to go!

Open Access has come a long way in the last decade, even further since the 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) declaration calling for “free and unrestricted online availability” of academic literature.

There are now Open Access journals in disciplines from A-Z – from archaeology (my own discipline) to zoology, and most subjects in between. Perhaps most importantly, for effecting change, major funding agencies such as our peak research councils (NMHRC and ARC here in Australia, or RCUK and HEFCE in the UK) have recognised the importance of Open Access to publicly funded research.

In the next UK ‘Research Excellence Framework’ (similar to our own Excellence in Research for Australia), all research outputs will be required to have been deposited in Open Access repositories within three months of their online-publication. Here in Australia, both ARC and NMHRC have well established Open Access Policies, requiring research outputs from publicly funded projects to be made “Openly Accessible”.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Academic Writing Month (#LTUAcWriMo) at La Trobe turns 5!

Since 2013, the RED team has created a month-long, multi-campus and online program to enable and encourage academic writing: with events, blog posts, workshops, and conversation on Twitter around the #LTUacwrimo hashtag. In the last 5 years, papers, books, chapters and theses have been completed and people have built great habits, gained new insights into what works for them as writers, and enjoyed the camaraderie of writing together.

Since 2015, Academic Writing Month has culminated in a three-day writing retreat. We are delighted to offer this program again, but book in early, it is very popular and spaces are limited! (Read about Jason Murphy’s experience of attending the retreat.)

 If you would like to make significant progress on your academic writing, with like-minded colleagues, then this month-long festival of writing is for you. Academic Writing Month has been developed for all researchers at all levels (including graduate researchers), at every campus and externally. 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Research impact (Helen Young)

If you’ve been to one of the Research Roadshows in the past few months you will have heard that La Trobe took part in the ARC Engagement and Impact Assessment Pilot. Next year it will be the real thing, with an Engagement and Impact 2018 companion to the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) exercise.

We might be used to thinking about ‘impact’ in terms of our disciplines or academia more broadly, with measures like peer-reviewed publications, journal rankings and citations, but those things are assessed under ERA.

So what is ‘impact?’ The ARC gives this definition:
Research impact is the demonstrable contribution that research makes to the economy, society, culture, national security, public policy or services, health, the environment, or quality of life, beyond contributions to academia’.

So, the big question for researchers is: ‘what has changed because of my research?’