Like many other countries, the New Zealand government periodically assesses the quality of research carried out within the country’s tertiary education organizations. This assessment is known as the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) Quality Evaluation, and a portion of the research funding from the government is linked to the results from this research quality evaluation.
The PBRF Quality Evaluation takes place every six years – the tertiary education sector is now preparing for the 2018 evaluation, which will assess outputs published 2012-2017 – and it drills down to the level of the individual researcher. Every researcher in every tertiary education organization is expected to prepare an Evidence Portfolio; for the current round, this will include details of up to 16 research outputs per researcher.
From a research management point of view, ensuring that the correct research outputs – which include creative works as well – have been assigned to the appropriate researcher(s), with all relevant details intact, is a real challenge, particularly for large organizations, which have thousands of employees. Informal analysis undertaken during the last PBRF round showed that at some NZ institutions, before internal audit and submission, at least 5% of publications were not correctly attributed.
Avoiding such potentially costly errors is one of the reasons why the University of Auckland – New Zealand’s largest university – has recently become the third member of the ORCID community in the country, joining Waikato University and Lincoln University. “ORCID identifiers will provide a means to more accurately and effectively record and report on research work,” says Distinguished Professor Peter Hunter, Director, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, the University of Auckland.
PBRF is not the University’s only reason for joining ORCID; international rankings are another critical factor for the University in terms of attracting international students.
“Many international ranking systems such as the QS and Times Higher rely on publications to be correctly attributed to the University of Auckland and do not undertake any additional checks,” notes Dr Tracey Swift, Director of Research Management, University of Auckland. “Once ORCID is fully embedded in the University, our researchers can be confident that the information being fed into the ranking systems is accurately recording not just most of the University’s research, but all of it.”