Research Publication Policy

  1. Background Information
  2. Policy Purpose
  3. Policy Statement
  4. Application of Policy
  5. Approvals, Roles and Responsibilities
  6. Further Assistance
  7. Related Policies and Documents

1. Background Information

As a research University, and in order to receive Government funding for its research activities, ACU is required to report annually on its research publications and income. This information is also reported to the Government as part of its institutional assessment of the quality of research being undertaken in universities. Information on research activity is collected and maintained on the University's research information system and information about ACU research publications is made publicly available through the University's institutional repository (ACU Research Bank). Academic staff members report their research activity information to the ODVCR and these data are verified, maintained and monitored for compliance with HERDC specifications.

The University recognises that all academic staff as well as faculties and discipline areas have a responsibility to ensure that the research publication and other outputs meet appropriate definitional and quality standards and support the University's strategic directions. It is also necessary to comply with recent policy changes announced by the ARC and NHMRC. Both policies stipulate that publication metadata must be submitted to the institutional repository as soon as possible after the paper is accepted for publication, and that publications arising from funded research be deposited into an open access repository within 12 months from the date of publication.

Research publications move through a number of statuses throughout the publication process. They are prepared for publication, submitted for publication, in-press, etc. This policy identifies the point at which a publication can be considered by the University to be published and in its final state for the purposes of recording the research output.

Research publications, in the context of this policy, refer to traditional and non-traditional publications.

1.1 Definitions

Accepted Manuscript - is the version of an article that has been accepted for publication and which may include any author-incorporated changes suggested through peer review, and editor-author communications.

Contested Research Publication - is a publication about which there is disagreement as to whether or not it meets the definition of research.

ERA - Excellence in Research for Australia.

Executive Author - is the senior author of the research output.

Format Neutral - Research publications may be produced in any appropriate format, such as print, publication online, or publication in digital form on separate media such as a CD. Format neutral research publications require quality control (such as peer review or in-house quality control) and enhancement through processes such as assessment or review, editing, copy- editing, design, and conversion of the work to an appropriate format.

HERDC - Higher Education Research Data Collection

ODVCR - Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research

Research - is defined in accordance with the Government expectations as contained in the HERDC specifications and ERA Guidelines. The 2014 HERDC Specifications have the following definition of research:

"Research is defined as the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.

This definition of research is consistent with a broad notion of research and experimental development (R&D) as comprising of creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humanity, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications1.

This definition of research encompasses pure and strategic basic research, applied research and experimental development. Applied research is original investigation undertaken to acquire new knowledge but directed towards a specific, practical aim or objective (including a client-driven purpose).

Activities that support the conduct of research and therefore meet the definition of research include:

  • professional, technical, administrative or clerical support staff directly engaged in activities essential to the conduct of research;
  • management of staff who are either directly engaged in the conduct of research or are providing professional, technical, administrative or clerical support or assistance to those staff;
  • the activities and training of HDR students enrolled at the HEP;
  • the development of HDR training and courses;
  • the supervision of students enrolled at the HEP and undertaking HDR training and courses; and
  • research and experimental development into applications software, new programming languages and new operating systems (such R&D would normally meet the definition of research).

Activities that do not support the conduct of research must be excluded, such as:

  • scientific and technical information services;
  • general purpose or routine data collection;
  • standardisation and routine testing;
  • feasibility studies (except into research and experimental development projects);
  • specialised routine medical care;
  • commercial, legal and administrative aspects of patenting, copyright or licensing activities; and
  • routine computer programming, systems work or software maintenance.

The HERDC definition of research is consistent with a broad notion of research and experimental development (R&D) as defined by the OECD, comprising creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humanity, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.

Research Publication - the definition is consistent with the HERDC definition being as follows:

"Research publications are books, book chapters, journal articles and/or conference publications which comply with the definition of research and are characterised by:

  • substantial scholarly activity, as evidenced by discussion of the relevant literature, an awareness of the history and antecedents of work described, and provided in a format which allows a reader to trace sources of the work, including through citations and footnotes;
  • originality including interpretative originality (ie not just a compilation of existing works);
  • veracity/validity through a peer review process or the quality control processes of a commercial publisher;
  • increasing the stock of knowledge; and
  • being in a form that enables the dissemination of knowledge."(pp.8-9)

The HERDC Specifications also note "Where a literature review is predominantly a summary of the current knowledge and findings of a particular research field or topic, and as such, does not include any critical assessment or report any new findings or original experimental work, then this publication type is unlikely to comply with the definition of research (section 1.3.10)." (p.7).

Research publication material also includes non-traditional outputs as specified from time to time by the government.

University Only Research Collection - the University Only Research Collection collects research publications that fall outside the HERDC Specifications but are recognised through the Workload for Academic Staff policy, as contributions to research and scholarship.

1 OECD (2002), Frascati Manual: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development, OECD: Paris

2. Policy Purpose

This policy forms part of the University's governance framework for the management of research outputs. It outlines responsibilities with respect to approvals and roles, and informs procedures and guidelines related to the recording and management of the University's research outputs. The policy is to ensure that the University meets its reporting obligations to the Federal Government including the dissemination of government-funded research information.

3. Policy Statement

The ODVCR is responsible for ensuring the integrity and accuracy of the University's research data for the purposes of providing internal and external jurisdictional reports.

Faculties and discipline areas have a responsibility to ensure that the research publication outputs meet appropriate definitional and quality standards. The ODVCR is responsible for compiling the HERDC and ERA publications information and for establishing information collection procedures.

The version of record in the ODVCR research management system is the version as published in its final format. This format neutral version serves as the definitive version and includes any changes made to an accepted manuscript by pre-publication copy editing, typesetting and proof reading.

4. Application of Policy

4.1 Reporting Research Outputs

The University is obliged to record and report the research publications of its staff and students to comply with the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC), and the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) exercises. For ERA, all research outputs nominated for peer review must be stored in an institutionally supported repository in digital form. ACU's institutional repository (ACU Research Bank) is managed by the Library which also creates metadata records, scans research publications and uploads digital files to the repository so that they can be assessed by reviewers from the Australian Research Council as part of the ERA initiative.

For the purposes of reporting the Universities publication outputs, the version to be used is defined by this Policy. In order to ensure the University has a complete record of research publication outputs, honorary appointment holders are expected to provide information about their research publications consistent with the ACU appointment policy.

4.2 Recording Research Outputs

Research publication outputs are recorded in the ACU research information system and reported to the Government. Outputs which do not meet the HERDC and/or ERA specifications are recorded as university-only publications and are not reported to the Government. Research students with peer-reviewed published research are also required to report this information to the University as part of its annual HERDC publications data collection.

Publication outputs with the status of 'Advance', 'accepted for publication', or 'in-press' will fall outside the definition of published as they are subject to change. Also some of the publication meta-data, such as volume, issue or publication page numbers will not be available in these formats.

Publication outputs having a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) are not necessarily considered to be in their final format. The inclusion of these publications in the final ODVCR approved HERDC return or ERA submission is dependent on meeting all other requirements of these collections.

Publication outputs which appear only on the web are considered to be a final version subject to meeting other reporting requirements. The procedure for calculating page numbers and volume are detailed in the procedures.

4.2.1 Attribution to Australian Catholic University

In order that Australian Catholic University achievements and investment in research receive appropriate acknowledgement and contribute to all relevant measures of performance, Australian Catholic University must be attributed on all ACU staff research outputs.

Attribution is also required

  • Where staff hold a joint appointment or honorary position with Australian Catholic University;
  • Where resources and/or facilities of Australian Catholic University have been used in the research leading to the output;
  • Where the research project expenditure have been managed through Australian
    Catholic University finance accounts;
  • Where project funding has been made available from external sources which require attribution in resulting publications as part of the funding conditions.

Staff should refer to the appropriate guidelines supplied by the funding body to ensure the correct by-line reference is included on the output. In attributing Australian Catholic University as the institution of affiliation, 'Australian Catholic University' must be written out in full in the by-line.

Where authors are approved to list other affiliations (for example, institute, centre, department or school) these may be listed after the 'Australian Catholic University' attribution. Where multiple affiliations are listed 'Australian Catholic University' must always be listed first, wherever possible.

Where an executive author is based at another institution, it is the responsibility of the Australian Catholic University author(s) to ensure that Australian Catholic University is appropriately attributed as described above.

4.2.1 By-Lines

4.3 Publishing Conflict of Interest

Publications produced by a publisher that is owned by a member of staff, their family or relatives would not normally be considered eligible for the HERDC or ERA collections as there is a potential for an independent assessor to reasonably conclude that there is a conflict of interest.

5. Approvals, Roles and Responsibilities

In order that the Australian Catholic University's achievement and investments in research receive appropriate acknowledgement and contribute to all relevant measures of performance, all University staff are required to report the final version of their research publication outputs as outlined in this policy. Faculties are responsible for ensuring that the research outputs included in each of the HERDC and ERA submissions comply with definitional and quality standards.

The DVCR or nominated delegate determines whether contested research outputs meet the accepted definition of research for HERDC and or ERA purposes.

6. Further Assistance

Any staff member who requires assistance in understanding this Policy should contact their Faculty research representative in the first instance.

7. Related Policies and Documents

Higher Education Research Data Collection Specifications

Excellence in Research for Australia

ACU Honorary Academic Titles Guidelines

OECD (2002), Frascati Manual: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and

Experimental Development, OECD: Paris.

NHMRC Revised Policy of the Dissemination of Research Findings.

ARC Open Access Policy

University Only Research Collection

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