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RPDC (HERDC) and ERA

Information on USC reportable publication schemes.

Contacts

For further information on HERDC or ERA reporting:

Library - USC Research Bank

Rebecca Cooke - Research Collections Coordinator

Office of Research

Lei Zhao - Research Performance and Information, Team Leader

HERDC Specifications

Download the latest HERDC specifications (publications) for the 2015 Collection year (click image below).  Note that publications are no longer being submitted to the government for HERDC reporting from 2016 however our RPDC internal reporting follows the criteria specified in these guidelines.

HERDC Specifications

Important Note

As of 2016, HERDC publications reports are no longer being submitted to the government.  USC is still collecting publications as per the specifications below for the internal Research Publications Data Collection (RPDC) as well as preparation for ERA reporting.

Research Publications Data Collection (RPDC) (formerly HERDC)

RPDC (Research Publications Data Collection) was formerly known as HERDC (Higher Education Research Data Collection).  An annual report, it is the University's main source of information on research activity.  Prior to 2016, HERDC submission to the Commonwealth Government included both research income and research publications, and determined our Research Block Grant funding amounts.  Changes to the way research funding is allocated to universities has meant that from 2016 publications are no longer being included in the government submission. 

‚ÄčAlthough not submitted to the government, publication data is continued to be collected by USC for the purpose of reporting on research activity internally and for other research reporting schemes.

This guide covers research publication reporting only.  For information on research income reporting for HERDC, please contact the Office of Research.

What is a research publication?

Research publications are reported in the following categories:

  • A1 - research books or monographs
  • B1 - chapters in edited research books
  • C1 - refereed journal articles
  • E1 - fully written conference papers published in a refereed proceedings.

 

A publication is more than just a release of the work.  It implies 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.

 

research publication is 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 (i.e. not a compilation of existing works. See important notes below regarding the treatment of scholarly editions and scholarly translations)
  • veracity/validity through a peer review process or by satisfying the quality control processes of a commercial publisher
  • increasing the stock of knowledge
  • being in a form that enables dissemination of knowledge, and can be in any appropriate format such as print, publication online, or publication in digital form on separate media such as a CD.

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 applications.

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 University
  • the development of HDR training and courses
  • the supervision of students enrolled at the University and undertaking HDR training and courses
  • 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
  • literature reviews that are predominantly a summary of the current knowledge and findings of a particular research field or topic and do not include any critical assessment or report any new findings or original experimental work
  • commercial, legal and administrative aspects of patenting, copyright or licensing activities
  • routine computer programming, systems work or software maintenance.

Eligibility criteria for RPDC publications

All publications submitted for RPDC reporting must meet the following criteria:

 

  • Meet the definition of research as defined by the HERDC 2015 specifications

    • According to the HERDC 2015 specifications, 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 applications.

 

  • Show evidence of affiliation to the University of the Sunshine Coast on the byline of the publication
    • The author of the research publication being submitted for RPDC must have their USC affiliation on or within the publication.  

    • If USC is not identified within the work and the research was carried out while employed at USC, an Author Affiliation Statement must be completed.  

 

  • Must have been published in the relevant calendar year

    • The relevant calendar year is the published year prior to the collection year.  For example, the 2016 RPDC Collection refers to research publications published in the 2015 calendar year.  The publication year must be within or on the work being claimed.

To be included in the RPDC reporting, publications must meet the definition of research, meet the specific criteria below, and can only be counted once.  

All authored research books must meeting the following criteria:

 

  • Must be a major work of scholarship and meet the definition of research (as described in the 'All Publications' tab)
  • Must have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
  • Must be written by a single author, or by joint authors who share responsibility for the whole book
  • Must have been published by a commercial publisher or have been peer reviewed.

 

The types of books that may meet the criteria include:

The types of books  that do not meet the criteria include:

  • Critical scholarly texts
  • New interpretations of historical events
  • New ideas or perspectives based on established research findings
  • Textbooks
  • Anthologies
  • Creative works
  • Edited works
  • Translations (unless they have a major demonstrable original research component)
  • Revisions or new editions
  • Manuals and handbooks
  • Theses

 

All book chapters in research books must meeting the following criteria:

 

  • Must be a major work of scholarship and meet the definition of research (as described in the 'All Publications' tab)
  • Must have an ISBN
  • Must have been published by a commercial publisher or have been peer reviewed

 

The types of book chapters that may meet the criteria include:

The types of book chapters that do not* meet the criteria include:
  • Scholarly introduction of chapter length to an edited volume, where the content of the introduction reports research and makes a substantial contribution to a defined area of knowledge.
  • Critical scholarly text of chapter length
  • Critical reviews of current research
  • Chapters in textbooks
  • Entries in reference books
  • Anthologies
  • Revisions of chapters in edited books
  • Forewards
  • Brief introductions
  • Brief editorials
  • Appendices
  • Literary or creative pieces
  • Translations (unless they have a major demonstrable original research component)
  • Case studies
  • Encyclopaedia entries

* Unless they meet all the criteria for inclusion.

 

All refereed journal articles must meeting the following criteria:

 

  • Must meet the definition of research (as described in the 'All Publications' tab)
  • Must be published in a scholarly journal
  • Must have been peer reviewed
  • Must have an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

 

The types of journal articles that may meet the criteria include:

The types of journal articles that do not meet the criteria include:
  • Commentaries and communications of original research
  • Research notes
  • Letters to journals, provided the letter satisfies the definition of research and the requirements for journal articles in this section
  • Critical scholarly texts which appear in article form
  • Articles reviewing multiple works or an entire field of research
  • Invited papers in journals
  • Articles in journals targeted to both scholars and professionals
  • Articles in stand-alone series
  • Letters to the editor
  • Case studies
  • Articles designed to inform practicioners on existing knowledge in a professional field
  • Articles in newspapers or popular magazines
  • Editorials
  • Book reviews
  • Brief commentaries and communications of original research
  • Reviews of art exhibitions, concerts and theatre productions

 

All refereed conference papers must meeting the following criteria:

 

  • Must meet the definition of research (as described in the 'All Publications' tab)
  • Must be published in full
  • The full paper must be peer reviewed, not just the abstract
  • Must be presented at a conference, workshop or seminar of national or international significance

 

The types of conference papers that do not meet the criteria include:
  • Papers that appear only in a volume that is handed out to conference participants
  • Keynote addresses
  • Plenary addresses
  • Poster presentations
  • Abstracts of conference publications

Non-Traditional Creative Works (NTROs) were not submitted as part of the annual HERDC collection, however they are included in the ERA collection.  As such, they are now eligible for the annual RPDC collection of research outputs.

 

NTROs must satisfy the same crieteria as RPDC publications in the "All publications" tab, as well as:

  • the research must have been made publically available
  • the research must have been created by the authors.

 

Further information on NTRO eligibility criteria can be found here.

 

If you have an NTRO research output, let us know the details by completing this form.  You can also attach your Research Statement as part of the online submission if you wish.

 

Research Statement

For consideration for ERA submission, a Research Statement identifying the research component of your output is required to accompany each creative work.   This statement must be around 250 words (no more than 2000 characters) and address the following categories:

Research Background

  • Field
  • Context
  • Research Question

Research Contribution

  • Innovation
  • New Knowledge

Research Significance

  • Evidence of Excellence

The following is an example of an acceptable visual arts research statement as provided by the ARC in the ERA guidelines:

Research Background

Current international developments in painting have identified the need to establish complex forms for representing identity in terms of facial expression. While this research recognises the significance of facial expression, it has overlooked the unstable nature of identity itself.

Research Contribution

The paintings Multiple Perspectives by Y address the question of the unstable nature of identity as expressed in painterly terms through a study in unstable facial phenomenon using the philosophical concept of 'becoming‘. In doing so it arrives at a new benchmark for the discipline in understanding visual identity, namely that identity is not bound to stable facial phenomena but, like other forms of meaning, is constantly undergoing change.

Research Significance

The significance of this research is that it overcomes barriers for visually understanding the complex nature of identity and its expressive painterly possibilities. Its value is attested to by the following indicators: selection of the painting for inclusion in the international exhibition Documenta, Kassel, Germany; its inclusion as a case study in the renowned Courtauld Institute, University of London, Issues in Contemporary Art graduate seminar series; its being the subject of a chapter in the book Identity Reframed published by Thames and Hudson and authored by the renowned art historian Z; its forming part of a competitively funded ARC project.

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What is a commercial publisher?

For the purpose of reporting eligibility, authored books and book chapters must be published by a commercial publisher.  The requirement for a commercial publisher takes the place of a formal peer review as required for journal articles and conference papers.

 

Note:

  • Conference proceedings do not need to be published by a commercial publisher to be eligible.
  • Authored books and book chapters that are not published by a commercial publisher may still be eligible if a peer review process can be demonstrated.

 

The recognised definition of a commercial publisher is an entity for which the core business is producing books and distributing them for sale. 

 

If publishing is not the core business of an organisation but there is a distinct organisational entity devoted to commercial publication and its publications are not completely paid for or subsidised by the parent organisation or a third party, the publisher is acceptable as a commercial publisher.

 

Universities and other self-supporting university presses are also regarded as commercial publishers, provided that they have responsibility for the distribution of the publication, in addition to its printing.

 

Publishers that may not be eligible include:

  • publishing units within faculties in universities (note the official publishing arm of a university, such as University X Press is usually eligible, but the publishing arm within a faculty in University X may not be eligible);
  • clearinghouses;
  • publishing arms of museums or galleries;
  • companies that are hired only to print or distribute a book, but bear no responsibility for the editing process or take no risk in choosing to publish;
  • companies that publish books but sub-contract printing and/or distribution thus having no responsibility for the entire publishing process; or
  • “vanity presses” which is a publishing house is which authors pay to have their books published.

What is peer review?

For the purposes of the reporting eligibility, an acceptable peer review process is one that involves impartial and independent assessment or review of the research publication in its entirety before publication, conducted by independent, qualified experts. Independent in this context means independent of the author.

 

Peer review is required for journal articles and conference publications. It is also required for books and book chapters that are not published by a commercial publisher.

 

For journal articles, any of the following are acceptable as evidence of peer review:

  • listing on the ARC's Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) latest available journal list
  • listing in Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge Master Journal List
  • classification as ‘refereed’ in the Ulrich’s Knowledgebase
  • a statement in the journal which shows that contributions are peer reviewed
  • a statement or acknowledgement from the journal editor which shows that contributions are peer reviewed
  • a copy of a reviewer’s assessment relating to the article.

 

For conference publications, any of the following are acceptable as evidence of peer review:

  • a statement in the conference proceedings which shows that contributions are peer reviewed
  • a statement or acknowledgement from the conference proceedings editor which shows that contributions are peer reviewed
  • a copy of a reviewer’s assessment relating to the conference paper.

 

For books and book chapters that are not published by a commercial publisher any of the following are acceptable as evidence of peer review:

  • a statement in the book which shows that contributions are peer reviewed and in the case of book chapters, which indicates which chapters are peer reviewed, if this does not apply to all content
  • a statement or acknowledgement from the publisher or editor which shows that contributions are peer reviewed
  • a copy of a reviewer’s assessment relating to the book or book chapter.

 

Note: A statement from an author that a publication was peer reviewed is not acceptable.  The existence of a national or international advisory board is also not sufficient evidence that all relevant publications were assessed by members of it.


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