Professor Turner chaired the 2009 review of Excellence in Research Australia which allowed Non Traditional Research Outcomes (eg journalism and creative writing) to be recognised by the Australian Research Council.
Traditional research had “off the rack” methods of research assessment, he said.
Developing disciplines needed to indicate that professional practices showed a research component.
Much of the creative material submitted for the 2010 review was of widely different standards. Some submissions “Didn’t have a hope in Hell of being accepted,” he said.
There was a mixed message sent out which implied that everything that everybody did that was professional or creative practice would be included. Not true! Only some under certain circumstances…Some people were putting in literally hundreds of pieces for assessment.
In contrast in one (hypothetical) case, a hopeful academic had submitted a flyer for a concert as evidence.
The ARC required that each Non Traditional Research Output submitted be accompanied by a mini exegesis, which outlined its significance. The process of writing this exegesis might serve as a test as to whether an item qualified.
The research statement for NTROs to be submitted for peer review in ERA 2012, can be found at Appendix C (page 75) of the ERA 2012 Submission Guidelines. The guidelines are available for download at http://www.arc.gov.au/pdf/era12/ERA2012_SubmissionGuidelines.pdf.
Professor Turner gave this speech in Sydney on 15.9.11 at a conference organised by University of Technology Sydney. The conference was staged with the support of Professor Lesley Farrell and the research office of the Faculty of Arts and Science. A slightly edited version of his speech can be heard on the Soundcloud link which follows: