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ERA rankings abolished

The totally ridiculous ARC rankings of academic journals into A*, A, B and C rankings has been dropped thank goodness. How about an apology from the nitwit academics and academic managers who pushed this stupid scheme as inevitable. Their stupidity wasted a lot of valuable thinking time. Now let’s abolish the current ARC the Stalinist institution that introduced this idiocy.

If I get told once more that I need to go along with some foolish proposal from Australia’s inept academic bureaucracy because everyone else is – and because the change is inevitable – I might display a rare instance of hostility and anger. To crow a little as I repeatedly said to colleagues who wanted to evaluate their own colleagues, make departmental staffing decisions, manipulate research and basically scoring to game this daft system: “This ERA system will collapse under the weight of its own stupidity”.  It has – the most disgraceful feature of the ERA scoring system is that it even got up for a short period.

7 comments to ERA rankings abolished

  • conrad

    What crazy idea next though?

    “If I get told once more that I need to go along with some foolish proposal from Australia’s inept academic bureaucracy because everyone else is”

    I agree. I always tell my PG students to just think about doing good stuff, because good stuff will always be good stuff, but things that make idiotic bureaucrats happy change with the wind.

  • Sinclair Davidson

    Harry – it’s not enough to abolish the rankings, somebody should be shot. The incredible damage that these ranking caused is phenomenal.

  • Rohan Pitchford

    Im curious—what would you see in the journal rankings place?

    The minister now wants to base it on publication frequency.

  • hc

    Rohan, For internal university purposes (appointments, promotions) the rankings provide no more information than a CV. If ERA rankings are used internally they can distort selections for the reasons discussed by Joshua. The key problem in the rankings is their inflexibility and the low weight they gave to applied work related to Australia. For Australian economics that has been a disaster. Already we have created a whole class of economics whose desire is to display technique rather than address policy issues. The incentives should be to encourage applied work on Australia not to discourage it.

    For the purposes of allocating research income I think peer review works much better than inflexible schemes that – in economics – focus mainly on publishing theoretical work in US journals that has some interest for Australia but not a primary interest. The use of ERA scores induces Matthews Effects – those who are well-endowed get more while those with little have that taken away.

    I ndisagree with Joshua on the whole ethic of trying to desigbn incentive contracts for Australian academics based on ERA scoores. Ditch this system permanently.

  • I’m suspicious of something so welcomed by academics –

    so now publishing in the East Brunswick TAFE Journal of Homeopathy will count the same as publishing in the Lancet or New England Journal of Medicine ?

  • conrad

    “so now publishing in the East Brunswick TAFE Journal of Homeopathy will count the same as publishing in the Lancet or New England Journal of Medicine ?”

    No, you’re thinking of DEST points, which were used before the ERA. I think the idea is that someone with a little bit of knowledge will actually have to look through the stuff people publish to evaluate it, and presumably look at other indicators as well (like citations).

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