Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How much is my publication worth to the university?

The Australian Government funds university research through the Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) as well as through the research block grant schemes. Research block grant funding, which is now managed by the Department of Education, currently consists of four performance based programs to support research and research training in Australian universities. The four programs are:

  • The Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE) initiative;
  • the Joint Research Engagement (JRE) program;
  • the Research Infrastructure Block Grant (RIBG) scheme; and
  • the Research Training Scheme (RTS).
Universities report research performance measures such as publications, research income, HDR load and HDR completions to the Department on an annual basis. These data are used in the calculations for distributing block grants funds to the sector. Publications factor into two of the funding schemes and contribute to the distribution of 10% of the JRE and 10% of the RTS. The fact that these data and the calculation methodology are publicly available means that with a simple calculation a dollar value can be placed upon a research publication.

This table shows that in 2002 each publication point was worth $2,928. In fact a book would have been worth a whopping $14,640 as they are weighted at 5:1 over other publication types. However, this value has rapidly decreased from $2,928 in 2002 to a current value of only $1,745 in 2014 ($8,725 for a book). So, if you are publishing research at a university and you are wondering how much your publication is worth in dollar terms, now you know, $1,745 - BUT, this is for a sole authored paper of course, and if you have co-authored with someone outside of your institution this value halves to $872; co-authored with two others? $582 and so on.

I was shown a paper the other day with the title: "Inclusive Search for Supersymmetry Using Razor Variables in pp Collisions at sqrt[s]=7 Tev"; this paper had 2196 authors listed on it and one of them was from an Australian university. This means that this highly collaborative research paper was worth a grand total of 79c!

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