As good as it gets? National research evaluations
Despite the origins of universltles, the interface of creativity and academic industry has long been problematic. Separating the creative and academic in this way produces a spurious dichotomy, but one that has nevertheless dominated the academic environment, where employment, government funding, promotion, enrolments and a great many other factors have all danced around the notions of research value and quality and, particularly, how this is evaluated in a metrics-dominated system. The question of how to measure and rank academic and creative output has immediate consequences for the arts, creative arts and humanities, and Australia is not alone in undertaking government-initiated, researchmeasurement exercises. Australia trialled the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) scheme in 2009, with a full roll-out across all university clusters/disciplines occurring in 20101 (Australian Research Council, 2011). Comparable nation-based measurement exercises include New Zealand's Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF), which assesses individuals, and the United Kingdom's Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which assesses departments. The RAE has recently been replaced by the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Whatever the assessment acronym (or nation), these national research evaluations are not going to go away. Moreover, it is unrealistic to think that such major government-initiated policy changes will not dictate the way national and international institutions think about research, recruitment and promotion.
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