From 2011 to 2013, Jason was responsible for administering the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) submission at Murdoch University, Perth. The ERA initiative by the Australia Research Council (ARC) aims to identify and promote excellence across the full spectrum of research activity in Australia’s higher education institutions. The indicators used in ERA include a range of metrics such as citation profiles, which are common to disciplines in the natural sciences, and peer review of a sample of research outputs, which is more broadly common in the humanities and social sciences. The data submitted by universities covers all eligible researchers and their research outputs.
Jason’s role at Murdoch University was to develop original online tools and services which linked major citation and peer review research assets, visualised research trends, calculated relative citation impact, and analysed the performance and coverage of scholarly outcomes with regards to national and international benchmarks for individual fields of research (FoRs). The tools he created allowed effective consultation between the parties involved in the submission, the discovery of new assessable FoRs, and enabled effective error checking. These tools integrated staff data from Murdoch University’s internal HR system, publication and grant data from Murdoch University’s IRMA suite (the Integrated Research Management Application), Discipline Matrix data and ERA rules from the ARC, up-to-date citation data from SciVerse Scopus (a bibliographic database containing abstracts and citations for academic journal articles) including ten years of ranking data for 22,000 journals, library holding data from WorldCat (a union catalogue that itemises the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories), and supplementary data from Google Scholar (a web search engine that indexes the full text of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines).
Applied across all of Murdoch University’s research activities, these tools were used by research leaders, deans and the executive to more effectively evaluate and assign patents, grants, publications, explanatory statements and non-traditional research outputs within the context of ERA2 reporting requirements. As a result of this work Murdoch University had only a tiny number of submission errors and was one of the first institutions to complete its submission process. Overall, Murdoch University’s assessed (4 digit) units of evaluation rated ‘at world standard’ or above rose from 65% in 2010 to 85% in 2012. The online suite is now known as ‘Research Q.E.D.’ (‘Quite Easily Done’). More details of this work can be viewed on the ‘Design & Development‘ page.