Kellow, A. Eur Polit Sci (2012) 11: 567. doi:10.1057/eps.2011.70
The results from the first foray into the research quality in Australia, Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), were released in 2011. This article critically assesses the methodology of ERA and its application to the discipline of political science. It uses two other assessments of research quality in the discipline to confirm that the results for political science provide a credible result, as the rank order of departments is broadly compatible with these earlier exercises. The article then shows how the overall assessments for disciplines reflect the methodology employed, and that the average score for the discipline does not provide a credible benchmark against political science globally. While research funding decisions within disciplines are likely to be made according to within-discipline ranks, the use of descriptors relating the numerical score to ‘world class’ have undervalued the quality of the discipline relative to other disciplines and this risks affecting the perceptions of policymakers and impacting funding for the discipline as a whole.
research qualitypolitical scienceAustraliaexcellence in research for Australia