In Australia, reporting annual research data directly from IRs

Bernard Lane, Access remains an open secret, The Australian, September 17, 2008.  Excerpt:

…Every year, every [Australian] institution must report a mass of research data – the grant income earned by academics, for example, and the papers they publish – to the federal Government. It’s a big deal with a fancy title: the Higher Education Research Data Collection. HERDC information helps decide how much the universities will receive in federal funds….

Earlier this year, UQ [University of Queensland] duly filed its HERDC report, but it did so through [its OA] eSpace repository.

"I think we’re probably the first university to do that," says former eSpace manager Belinda Weaver, who is now with UQ International. It’s a coup because it brings more efficiency when there’s plenty of pressure to pull together data for attempts to measure and compare research performance….Other universities are interested in it. We’ve had quite a few visitors come to see how it’s done."

One reason for the interest is a hint dropped in February by Leanne Harvey, then a senior staff member in [Australia’s Ministry of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research], that all universities may be required to follow UQ’s example….

[After Queensland University of Technology adopted its OA mandate in 2004, other OA mandates were adopted at Charles Sturt University, University of Tasmania, and Macquarie University.]

The HES hears that the University of Tasmania is well advanced with open access. This led to a spirited email exchange with Arthur Sale, emeritus professor of computer science at UTas and open access zealot….

By his account, things were going swimmingly under the guidance of the university library when a new pro vice-chancellor for research, Jo Laybourn-Parry, decided to integrate open access and HERDC reporting with in-house software [as opposed to the existing repository software].

[Said Sale:]  "I can only speculate as to what is happening. I predict a disaster as home-grown and inadequate software fails to meet the needs of the university. UTas will go from one of the leaders in open access to the very bottom of the pile."

Laybourn-Parry says Sale has got it wrong….[T]he attempt to integrate HERDC and open access data – "so, effectively, academics will only have to give us information once" – …is in expert hands and well advanced….