A-Z Policy Listing


Date approved:

06 December 2013

Date policy will take effect:

1 January 2014

Date of Next Review:

1 January 2015

Approved by:

University Council

Custodian title & e-mail address:

Sharon Martin, Director, Research Services Office



Professor Tim Marchant, Dean of Research

Responsible Faculty/
Division & Unit:

Research Services Office, Research & Innovation Division

Supporting documents, procedures & forms of this policy:

UOW Strategic Plan http://www.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@spq/documents/doc/uow135458.pdf

References & Legislation:

Australian Research Council (ARC), Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA):


Department of Industry, Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC):


This policy will inform other relevant UOW Policies including:

Academic Study and Conference Leave:


Performance Enhancement and Career Development Guidelines:


Code of Practice Research:



Public – accessible to anyone

Expiry date of policy (if applicable):

Not applicable

Submit your feedback on this policy document using the Policy Feedback Facility.


1 Purpose of Policy

As part of the UOW Strategic Plan 2013-18, the University aspires to achieve a ranking within the top 1% of world universities and to build an outstanding research culture and performance, based on:

    • improved research productivity linked to higher citation rates;

    • a 50% increase in highly esteemed researchers, and

    • HDR completions at more than 25+ per 100 academics per annum.

UOW achieved outstanding outcomes in the Excellence in Research for Australia 2012 (ERA 2012) assessment exercise with 7 disciplines rated as well above or above world average at the 2 digit FOR code level and 25 disciplines ranked as well above or above world average at the 4 digit FOR code level. UOW also aims to achieve excellent results in ERA 2015 and beyond.

This Research Active Policy defines minimum levels of research activity for UOW academic staff. It would be expected that UOW research only academic staff and senior research and teaching academic staff would usually have levels of research outputs far in excess of those defined in this Policy. It is also highly desirable that all academics strive to exceed these minimum levels and publish works of the highest quality. This Policy aims to support the University Strategic Plan, future ERA assessment exercises and our status in important international university ranking schemes.

2 Definitions


Definition (with examples if required)

Academic Staff Member

All persons appointed to the academic staff of UOW, whether they hold full-time, part-time, casual or conjoint appointments.

Co Supervisor

A supervisor who provides a substantial input into the research project of an HDR student and supports the principal supervisor in the research activities and administration process.

Early Career Researcher

An early career researcher is an academic staff member who has been awarded a PhD in the last 5 years or commensurate with a period of significant career interruption has been awarded a PhD within the last 8 years.

Types of career interruption may include: carer’s responsibility; disruption due to international relocation for international post-doctoral studies not exceeding more than 3 months; illness; maternity or parental leave; and/or unemployment or non-research employment where the work is predominantly non-research (not exceeding three years).


Excellence in Research for Australia (administered by the Australian Research Council)

FOR Code

The 2008 ANZSRC Field of Research (FOR) code allows R&D activity to be categorised according to the field of research. The categories in the classification include major fields (2 digit level) and related sub-fields of research and emerging areas of study (4 digit level).

HDR Completions

A person who was enrolled as a HDR student and whose body of HDR work (e.g. a research thesis) was examined as part of their HDR candidature at the University.

HDR student

Higher Degree Research Student

HERDC Research Income Categories

The Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) comprises of research income and research publications data submitted by universities each year. Relevant HERDC Research Income Categories are:

Category 1: Australian Competitive Research Grants

Category 2: Other Public Sector Grants

Category 3: Industry and Other Income

Named recipient

Academic staff member who is a named researcher on a competitive research grant or contract

Principal Supervisor

The supervisor who takes the lead in terms of accountability and research directions of the project of an HDR student.


The outcome of research, scholarship or academic output that is recorded in a material form, such as a journal article, book or report. A publication may appear in electronic form (eg. an electronic journal article).

Research Active

See definitions at 5.1 and 5.2

Research Outputs

Traditional research outputs: Scholarly Books and Refereed Journal Articles.

Non-traditional research outputs: Original Creative Works; Live Performance of Creative Works; Recorded/Rendered Creative Works; and Curated or Produced Substantial Public Exhibitions and Events.


A bibliographic database containing abstracts and citations for academic journal articles owned by Elsevier.


The University of Wollongong

Web of Science

Online subscription-based scientific citation indexing service maintained by Thomson Reuters that provides a comprehensive citation search.

3 Application & Scope

  • 1. This policy applies to all academic staff at UOW for which research is part of their normal duties. This typically includes all teaching and research academics and research only academics, but is focused on teaching and research as research only academics would be expected to far exceed these minimum thresholds.
  • 2. To be deemed research active, academic staff must satisfy at least one of the criteria in their appropriate definition, 5.1 or 5.2. Research outputs, publications, research income and HDR completions, from the previous five calendar years will be considered when applying the definition.

4 Implementation

  • 1. Multi-authored research publications count as a full publication for each author.
  • 2. Principal supervisors and co-supervisors receive full credit for a HDR completion.
  • 3. Multiple named recipients on competitive grants each receive full credit for the total grant amount.
  • 4. For definition 5.1 the Scopus and/or Web of Science indexed papers must be affiliated to UOW
  • 5. Typically, initial discussions about meeting the Research Active Definition will occur at the Career Development Interview between the Head of School (or allocated supervisor) and the individual academic staff member. The Head of School will report levels of research activity across that school to the Executive Dean and use the previous 5 calendar years to assess staff. The relevant Executive Dean has discretion in determining if a staff member will meet the Research Active definition. Some of the circumstances that may be taken into account in applying discretion are:
      • a) Part-time staff, new staff and staff who have been on leave, or had other career interruptions, may be considered for a pro-rata application of the criteria.
      • b) Early career researchers may satisfy a modified definition of research active developed in consultation with the Head of School (or allocated supervisor) to reflect their early career status and to enable them to meet the definition once they are no longer deemed an ECR.
      • c) Academic staff members undertaking a HDR degree at UOW are not required to meet the criteria but are required to make satisfactory progress on their HDR degree.
      • d) For definition 5.2.1, the four quality peer reviewed outputs can potentially include book chapters but must also include journal papers or books. Conference papers will not normally contribute to meeting definition 5.2.
      • e) The equivalence of discipline relevant quality research outputs in definition 5.2.
      • f) The appropriate weighting for books in definition 5.2.
      • g) The selection of definition 5.1 or 5.2, for academic staff members that publish across both citation and peer review disciplines.
      • h) Staff who do not satisfy any of the specific minimum levels in the definitions 5.1 or 5.2 but have produced a quality package of publications, research income and HDR completions.

5 Research Active definition

The definitions 5.1 and 5.2 apply to academic staff who typically publish in citation and peer review disciplines respectively, as defined in the ERA 2012 assessment exercise. It is expected that staff in the Faculty of Engineering & Information Sciences; the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, and the Australian Institute of Innovative Materials will normally be assessed using 5.1, while staff in the Faculty of Business, Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts will normally be assessed using 5.2.

5.1 Staff publishing in citation disciplines

      1. Publish at least five journal publications that are indexed by the Scopus or Web of Science databases and/or;

      2. Be a named recipient awarded at least $150,000 of HERDC Categories 1, 2 or 3 research income and/or;

      3. Be the principal supervisor or co-supervisor of at least three HDR students that have successfully completed.

5.2 Staff publishing in peer review disciplines

      1. Publish at least four journal publications or books. Books may be deemed to be the equivalent of multiple journal articles and/or;

      2. Produce an equivalent body of non-traditional research outputs such as original creative works and curated public exhibitions/events and/or;

      3. Be a named recipient awarded at least $100,000 of HERDC Categories 1, 2 or 3 research income and/or;

      4. Be the principal supervisor or co-supervisor of at least three HDR students that have successfully completed.

6 Roles & Responsibilities

    1. It is the responsibility of Heads of Schools (or equivalent) to:

      a. inform individual academic staff members about this Policy and manage its implementation;

      b. Include a discussion and assessment of research activity in academic staff members’ career development interviews.

    2. It is the responsibility of Executive Deans to:

      a. collate and report on levels of research activity in their faculty;

      b. determine when and which discretionary factors should be considered in determining if a staff member is Research Active.

    3. It is the responsibility of Associate Deans Research to promote and communicate this Policy within their Faculty.

    4. It is the responsibility of both Executive Deans and Associate Deans Research to encourage high levels of research productivity above the minimum research active thresholds set out in this Policy.

7 Version Control and Change History

Version Control

Date Effective

Approved By



1 January 2014

University Council

First Version.

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