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The Second International Symposium On Metrics-Based Research Evaluation Highlighted Different Perspectives on Measuring The Impact And Quality Of Research


Jointly Hosted By Thomson Reuters, The University of Queensland And The University of Western Australia, The Symposium In Brisbane Garnered Healthy Debate

Sydney, AUSTRALIA, – The evaluation of the economic and social impact of research and its metrics, by national systems and international institutions, was amongst the topics that delegates from the research management and librarian community at an international symposium held on May 16-17 found most useful and informative. This included the strategy implications of current evaluation frameworks on research institutions and other national systems of research evaluation frameworks. Co-hosted by Thomson Reuters, The University of Queensland (UQ) and The University of Western Australia (UWA), the Second International Symposium on Metrics-Based Research Evaluation was held at the UQ campus in Brisbane.

Techniques for assessing the value and quality of research were keenly debated and the symposium continued to be extremely well-received by delegates and speakers alike. There were 180 delegates from largely Australian and New Zealand institutions, an increase from the first symposium held in 2009 at UQ. The focus of the 2009 symposium then was on defining research excellence and evaluation of the academic impact of research.

Overall, the delegates thought the two-day symposium was a good investment of their time and covered a good mix of strategic, operational and technical content by a panel of speakers from Australia and abroad whom they considered extremely knowledgeable in their respective subject areas. Most of the delegates and speakers agreed that it was important for institutions to have and maintain synergy and healthy discussion between their libraries and research offices.

Trends in assessing research through bibliometrics and more information on the use of patent analytics to measure and increase research impact were two of the topics that delegates wanted the next research evaluation symposium agenda to include.

There were three keynote presenters:
• Dr Steven Wooding, Research Leader, RAND Foundation Europe, UK co-directs the Department of Health Policy Research in Science and Medicine Unit (PRISM) at RAND Europe and has worked for the UK Medical Research Council. He spoke on the evaluation of medical research.
• Professor Robin J. Batterham is Kernot Professor of Engineering at the University of Melbourne and President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). He was also Chief Scientist of Australia from 1999 to 2005. Professor Batterham presented the ATSE’s contribution towards the discussion of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) impact, namely its role in the context of innovation.
• Philip Noonan, Director General, IP Australia, discussed the value of patent information to universities.

A distinguished panel of international and Australian speakers in the field of research evaluation and research management presented their perspectives, and shared their use of research evaluation information and systems in providing strategic direction to their respective research development activities. The panel included:
• Andrew Calder, Director of Research Performance and Analysis, Australian Research Council (ARC)
• Professor Robert Tijssen, Leiden University, The Netherlands and member of the editorial (advisory) board of the International Journals Research Evaluation and Scientometrics
• Tracy Henderson, Manager of the Impact 2020 Project, CSIRO, Australia
• Professor John Hattie, Director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institutes, University of Melbourne

Said Tony Sheil, deputy director, Research Policy Office for Research, Griffith University, “The symposium is viewed by the sector as an important means by which to keep well-informed and aligned on matters of strategic importance to research within universities and elsewhere. You will have observed several references to ideas that emerged from the inaugural conference in 2009 that have since been implemented in other universities, including at Griffith. The commitment made by Thomson Reuters to stage these conferences reflects extremely well on the organisation and provides an essential way in which we can involve staff from Griffith who cannot otherwise find the funds to attend the expensive user-pays conferences which are often not as focussed. Your formula of attracting expert speakers willing to share knowledge, rather than speakers lobbying in self interest, is an essential ingredient of the success of the two Thomson Reuters conferences held to date.”

Said Jeroen Prinsen, senior director, Australia and New Zealand, Thomson Reuters, “Feedback from delegates has been very positive. They thought the discussions were balanced and well-facilitated. We are deeply encouraged that two years later, the second symposium that we are hosting with two of Australia’s leading universities, is now viewed as an important forum for discussion of research evaluation in Australia and New Zealand. It brings together the multiple stakeholders of the research management community (funders, research managers, librarians, vice-chancellors and academics), to dialogue on best practices of research evaluation, particularly research impact on society and economy with the aim of informing their strategies and policies. As a trusted partner of the research community, we want to continue engaging them in these healthy discussions.”

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