Some interesting takeaways from the draft guidelines include:
- A May/June 2018 submission deadline (which follows directly behind the ERA 2018 deadline)
- A maximum of 25 impact case studies per university which includes 23 disciplinary case studies, 1 interdisciplinary case study and 1 Aboriginal research case study
- The introduction of a low volume threshold of 150 weighted outputs (books weighted x5) over which a university must submit information and below which a university may opt-in if they so wish
- A new three point rating scale for impact (high, medium, low) which seems more sensible than the pilot ratings (mature, emerging, limited)
- Impact case studies will now receive 2 ratings each - one for the approach to impact and another for the impact itself
Adding to the sector's resource burden in complying with research evaluation is the introduction of two engagement narratives: one is an engagement indicator explanatory statement of 4,500 characters to accompany engagement indicators and the other is a 7,000 character engagement narrative to accompany each unit of assessment. Now seeing as each unit of assessment is the 2-digit field of research this results in a considerable increase in work for the sector. In ERA 2015 there was a total of 656 2-digit FORs evaluated - so if each one of these is accompanied by a 4,500 character explanatory statement and a 7,000 character engagement narrative this equates to around 7.5 million characters, or around 1.2 million words - for comparison, the entire series of Harry Potter books contain around 1.08 million words.
You can see the guidelines for yourself at the ARC website here.