Excellence in Research for Australia

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Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) is a research management initiative of the Australian Rudd Government being developed by the Australian Research Council (ARC).[1]

It replaces the Research Quality Framework that was developed by the Howard Government.[2]

In addition to the Higher Education Research Data Collection, which collects statistics about research in Australia, the ERA collected itemised data, with all research classified according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Field of Research (FOR) classification scheme.


For the 2010 data collection, the Field of Research codes are distributed into the following eight clusters:

  1. Physical, Chemical and Earth Sciences (PCE)
  2. Humanities and Creative Arts (HCA)
  3. Engineering and Environmental Sciences (EE)
  4. Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences (SBE)
  5. Mathematical, Information and Computing Sciences (MIC)
  6. Biological and Biotechnological Sciences (BB)
  7. Biomedical and Clinical Health Sciences (BCH)
  8. Public and Allied Health Sciences (PAH)

For the 2012 data collection, the clusters were changed. The SBE cluster was split into two new EHS and EC clusters, and the BCH and PAH clusters were merged to form a "Medical and Health Sciences" cluster. The Field of Research codes are distributed into the following eight clusters:

  1. Physical, Chemical and Earth Sciences (PCE) - no changes
  2. Humanities and Creative Arts (HCA) - 1202 and 1204 added
  3. Engineering and Environmental Sciences (EE) - 1202 and 1204 removed; 1005-1099 added
  4. Education and Human Society (EHS)
  5. Economics and Commerce (EC)
  6. Mathematical, Information and Computing Sciences (MIC) - 1005-1099 removed
  7. Biological and Biotechnological Sciences (BB) - no changes
  8. Medical and Health Sciences (MHS) - combines clusters BCH and PAH, and 1004 and 17


The following institutions are deemed eligible to submit data to the government as part of the ERA initiative.[citation needed]

2012 ratings[edit]

On 6 December 2012 Senator the Hon Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, announced the outcomes of the ERA 2012 process, with the release of the ERA 2012 National report.[3]


In 2009, two trials were conducted for the clusters "Physical, Chemical and Earth Sciences" (PCE) and "Humanities and Creative Arts" (HCA), and reports have been published using this data.[4]

In 2010, institutions were required to submit data for all eight clusters between June 1–18.

On 25 October 2010 the government announced that ERA data will be collected again in 2012.[5]

Journal lists[edit]

The ARC maintains a list of journals that are eligible for inclusion in the ERA. The ARC initially stated that these journals would be ranked using the following "four tiers of quality rating":[6]

A* (top 5%): "Virtually all papers they publish will be of a very high quality"
A (next 15%): "The majority of papers in a Tier A journal will be of very high quality"
B (next 30%): "Generally, in a Tier B journal, one would expect only a few papers of very high quality"
C (next 50%): Journals "that do not meet the criteria of higher tiers".

After the publication of its draft rankings, ERA introduced a form aimed at all scholars who wished to put a journal forward for the list. There were just three conditions for such a proposal: that the journal be "a scholarly, peer reviewed journal with an ISSN", that the person making the proposal state whether he/she was a member of the editorial board, and that the decision remain at ARC’s discretion. This consultation procedure led to a significant increase in the number of journals in the final list: for example, Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) journals went from 10,241 to 12,976.[7] The percentage distributions were not recalled and not adhered to in the final list which was released on 9 February 2010,[8] though the proportion of A* and A journals did not correlate directly with the performance of different disciplines.[9]

These journal rankings (A*, A, B, C) were discontinued for the 2012 ERA process.[10]


The ARC has used Scopus as the citation and bibliometrics provider for the 2010 and 2012 ERA.[11]

Conference lists[edit]

The list of conference rankings was released in December 2009. Conferences have only a three level ranking scheme:[12] A, B, or C.

Conferences are only ranked within the following Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification Fields of Research:

08: Information and Computing Sciences
09: Engineering
10: Technology
12: Built Environment and Design

As with journal rankings, a prescribed distribution has not been mandated by the ARC. The Deakin ERA Journal Rankings Access website has been expanded and renamed the ERA Outlets Rankings Access website.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kim Carr (15 July 2009). "New era in research will cut the red tape". The Australian. 
  2. ^ Kim Carr, In search of research excellence, 31 March 2008
  3. ^ "Record investment lifts university research rankings". Chris Evans. 6 December 2012. 
  4. ^ arc.gov.au/era/trial.htm
  5. ^ ERA 2012, ARC
  6. ^ ARC ERA Tiers
  7. ^ Pontille D., Torny D., "The controversial policies of journal ratings: evaluating social sciences and humanities", Research Evaluation, 19(5), 347-360, 2010
  8. ^ ARC ERA journal lists
  9. ^ Jill Rowbotham, "Journal rankings don't reflect performance ", The Australian, March 09, 2011
  10. ^ Tim Mazzarol , Geoffrey Norman Soutar (11 July 2011). "Why the ERA had to change and what we should do next". The Conversation (website). 
  11. ^ Margaret Sheil (23 November 2009). "Scopus announced as citation provider for ERA". Australian Research Council. 
  12. ^ ARC ERA Ranked Outlets

External links[edit]