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University of Newcastle Library Guides

Research Publications Collection: Key Eligibility Criteria

Guidance on reporting research outputs for UON researchers and academic staff

Key Eligibility Criteria for the 2020 Research Publications Collection

Determining eligibility of publications for reporting as part of the annual research publications collections process is based on the 2014 HERDC Specifications (the last collection containing specifications for research publications).

Definition of research

In general terms, the essential characteristic of research activity is that it leads to publicly verifiable outcomes which are open to peer appraisal.

Research is defined as the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it leads to new and creative outcomes.

This definition of research is consistent with a broad notion of research and experimental development (R&D) as comprising of creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humanity, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.

This definition of research encompasses pure and strategic basic research, applied research and experimental development. Applied research is original investigation undertaken to acquire new knowledge but directed towards a specific, practical aim or objective (including a client-driven purpose).

Activities that support the conduct of research and therefore meet the definition of research include:

  • provision of professional, technical, administrative or clerical support to staff directly engaged in activities essential to the conduct of research;
  • management of staff who are either directly engaged in the conduct of research or are providing professional, technical, administrative or clerical support or assistance to those staff;
  • the activities and training of HDR students enrolled at the HEP;
  • the development of HDR training and courses;
  • the supervision of students enrolled at the HEP and undertaking HDR training and courses; and
  • research and experimental development into applications software, new programming languages and new operating systems (R&D, for example, would normally meet the definition of research)

Activities that do not support the conduct of research must be excluded, such as:

  • scientific and technical information services;
  • general purpose or routine data collection;
  • standardisation and routine testing feasibility studies (except into research and experimental development projects);
  • specialised routine medical care;
  • commercial, legal and administrative aspects of patenting, copyright or licensing activities; and
  • routine computer programming, systems work or software maintenance.

Key characteristics of research publications

Under the HERDC specifications, research publications are books, book chapters, journal articles and conference publications which meet the definition of research and are characterised by:

  • substantial scholarly activity, as evidenced by discussion of the relevant literature, an awareness of the history and antecedents of work described, and provided in a format which allows a reader to trace sources of the work, including through citations and footnotes;
  • originality (i.e. not a compilation of existing works);
  • veracity/validity through a peer validation process or by satisfying the commercial publisher processes;
  • increasing the stock of knowledge; and
  • being in a form that enables dissemination of knowledge.

Evidence of 2020 shown as the Year of Publication

For the purposes of these specifications, to be able to count research publications in the 2021 Research Publications Collection (for 2020 publications):

  • the research must have been published in the 2020 calendar year, and
  • 2020 must be stated as the year of publication within or on the work being claimed.

Expanded Year of Publication Criteria

Publications may be included where the publication:

  • was published after the submission date for the 2019 data collection; and
  • contains a 2019 publication date.

Verification material held must be able to demonstrate that the publication, although containing a 2019 publication date, was not published until after 30 June 2020. A letter from the publisher will be considered sufficient verification material to support the claim. 

Evidence of Author Affiliation to the University of Newcastle

The author of the research publication must be affiliated with the University and must be identified either within or on the work being claimed. Author affiliation in a by-line, footnote or other statement within the publication is acceptable. See Research Publication Responsibility Guideline. From 2016 onwards, publications will not be included for reporting purposes where the University of Newcastle is not included in the author by-line.

See below example:

Example showing author affiliation to the University of Newcastle

Evidence of Peer Review for Journal Articles and Conference Papers

For the purposes of this collection, an acceptable peer review process is one that involves an assessment or review of the publication in its entirety (not merely an abstract or extract) before publication by independent, qualified experts. “Independent” in this context means independent of the author.

Peer review is relevant for journal articles and conference publications. For books and book chapters, the concept of a commercial publisher is used as a surrogate test of quality in place of a peer review requirement.

Providing Evidence of Peer Review for Journal Articles

  • the journal is listed on the ARC's latest ERA journal list
  • the journal is listed in Clarivate Analytics Master Journal List
  • the journal is classified as ‘refereed’ in the Ulrich’s Knowledgebase
  • there is a statement in the journal which shows that contributions are peer reviewed
  • is a statement or acknowledgement from the journal editor which shows that contributions are peer reviewed
  • a copy of a reviewer’s assessment relating to the article.
Library staff can assist with determining peer review status for most journal articles.


Providing Evidence of Peer Review for Conference Publications

For conference publications, any of the following are acceptable as evidence of peer review:

  • there is a statement in the conference proceedings which shows that contributions are peer reviewed
  • there is a statement or acknowledgement from the conference proceedings editor which shows that contributions are peer reviewed
  • a copy of a reviewer’s assessment relating to the conference paper.

Note: A statement from an author that a publication was peer reviewed is not accepted.

Likewise, the existence of a national or international advisory board is not sufficient evidence that all relevant publications are assessed by members of it.

HERDC Definition of a Commercial Publisher

A commercial publisher is an entity for which the core business is publishing books and distributing them for sale.

If publishing is not the core business of an organisation but there is a distinct organisational entity devoted to commercial publication and its publications are not completely paid for or subsidised by the parent organisation or a third party, the publisher will be accepted as a commercial publisher.

Important note:
Publication is more than the production of a book. It includes quality control such as peer review or equivalent in-house quality control through processes such as expert assessment or review, as well as editing, copy-editing, design, and conversion of the work to an appropriate format.

For the purpose of this data collection, university and other self-supporting higher education institution presses are regarded as commercial publishers, provided that they have responsibility for the distribution of the publication, in addition to its printing.


Help using NURO

Please contact your Research Liaison Librarian

Questions about Publications assessment and NURO Technical and Reporting Help

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