What is ERA?

The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) evaluation aims to identify and promote excellence across the full spectrum of research activity, including discovery, experimental and applied research within Australian higher education institutions. The objectives of the ERA evaluation are to provide evidence of research excellence to the government, funding agencies, industry and the community as a whole; to identify areas of national strengths and new areas of opportunity; and to allow comparison of research quality nationally and internationally.

All universities across Australia submit information to the Australian Research Council (ARC) about their research activities, including details relating to staff, research outputs, awards, grants, income, and other esteem measures.

Committees of internationally-recognised researchers evaluate this material by discipline. Their expert judgments are informed by a range of summary indicators and quality assessments derived from the data submitted. The evaluation committees award each research active discipline at each university a rating on a five-point scale:

  • One – Well below world standard
  • Two – Below world standard
  • Three – At world standard
  • Four – Above world standard
  • Five – Well above world standard

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Why is ERA required?

Successful completion of the ERA evaluation is of vital importance to Flinders University as it has a direct impact on future funding and prestige of the university. It is also a great way to showcase all the excellent research that is going on at the university.

On a national scale, ERA provides taxpayers with assurance that the public money spent on research is being invested wisely. ERA also provides business and the broader community with detailed information about the research strengths of our universities, so that those strengths can be exploited to the nation’s advantage.

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How do I know if I am an eligible researcher?

An eligible researcher is a member of academic staff employed by Flinders University on 31 March 2014.

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Can staff on unpaid leave ever qualify as an eligible researcher?

It is highly unlikely that a staff member on unpaid leave would qualify as an eligible researcher. Please refer to the ERA 2015 Submission Guidelines (once full version is available from the ARC).

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If I am employed by Flinders on a part time or casual basis, can I still be an eligible researcher?

Staff employed less than 0.4 FTE at the staff census date must have a publication association with the institution to be eligible. A publication association is most commonly demonstrated through a by line on a research output showing an affiliation between the researcher and Flinders University. If a publication association is demonstrated on one research output, all the eligible research outputs for this researcher within the reference period may be submitted by that institution.

Staff employed on a casual basis or engaged by an overseas institution at the census date are only eligible to submit outputs which have a publication association with Flinders University.

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What are the census dates?

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How do I know if my research output should be submitted for ERA 2015?

For an institution to submit information on a research output, the research output must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Meet the definition of research;
  2. Have been published or made publicly available within the research outputs reference period;
  3. Have one or more eligible researchers listed as author(s) or creator(s) either within (e.g. in the by-line) or on that research output; and
  4. Be an eligible research output type.

A reference to the full ERA 2015 Submission Guidelines will be made available once released from the ARC.

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Do all esteem measures follow the eligible researcher?

As with research outputs, esteem measures follow the eligible researcher. For example, if the researcher was at one institution when he or she received an Australia Council grant or fellowship and at another institution at the staff census date (31 March 2014), only the latter institution may claim the esteem measure (see section 5.7 of the ERA 2015 Submission Guidelines).

The only exception to this is nationally competitive research fellowships. In this case, institutions are required to submit details of eligible fellowships for which they have been administering/host organisation at any time during the esteem measures reference period, regardless of the recipient’s place of employment as at the staff census date (see section of the ERA 2015 Submission Guidelines).

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What are the major changes from ERA 2012?

There appear to be a number of changes of previous rounds of ERA, however we need to wait for final specifications from the ARC. Once the final specifications are released, the ERA Resources and the ERA Reference Period and Eligibility pages will be updated.

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What is a non-traditional research output?

Eligible research output types include the following non-traditional research output types:

  • Original Creative Works;
  • Live Performance of Creative Works;
  • Recorded/Rendered Creative Works;
  • Curated or Produced Substantial Public Exhibitions and Events; and
  • Research Reports for an External Body.

To be eligible, non-traditional research outputs must have been made available publicly during the research outputs reference period. See section 5.4.9 of the ERA 2015 Submission Guidelines and the ERA 2015 Discipline Matrix.

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Will there still be a journal list for ERA 2015?

Yes. The full Journal and Conference List is currently being finalised by the ARC, a link will be provided when available.

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Who do I contact if I still have questions about the ERA process?

Contact your relevant strategy leader.

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Further resources you may find useful…