Trouble down Under: Australia nonprofit researchers need your help!
- Australian Research Council
Subject: Trouble down Under: Australia nonprofit researchers need your help!
The Australian Government’s national body that assesses and funds academic research, the Australian Research Council (ARC), has launched the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative. The ERA seeks to assess research quality within Australia's higher education institutions and, using a combination of indicators, rank academic outputs including all academic journals and conferences. The list has recently been released and is available at http://www.arc.gov.au/era/key_docs10.htm.
The list fails to recognise nonprofit and volunteer sector related research generally and, in particular, the international standing of the field’s most prestigious journals. Four ‘tiers' have been instituted for ERA ranking, A* (top 5%); A (next 15%); B (next 30%); and C (next 50%). Both Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly and Voluntas appear in the 'C' category. They were outranked by the Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, Nonprofit Management and Leadership and Research in Governmental and Non-Profit Accounting which all appear in the B category.
We do NOT seek to downgrade the marketing, management and accounting journals but to upgrade Voluntas and NVSQ. This ranking will be used to drive resource allocation and thus has the potential to seriously devalue nonprofit related studies and threaten the future of nonprofit research and teaching programs in Australia. The ARC is now in the process of ranking conferences and it is likely that the ARNOVA and ISTR conferences will also receive a C. This will mean that Australian academics will struggle to secure funding from their universities to attend these major conferences.
We humbly request your help. We would appreciate it if you could sign our petition to support our request to revise the 2010 Journal ranking list. The petition is available below. The petition will then be attached to the following email which will be sent to the ARC CEO Professor Margaret Sheil.
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Dear Professor Sheil
We are writing to raise our concerns with the rankings of nonprofit and volunteer related journals in ERA 2010 Ranked Journal List and to seek amendments. The 2010 List has the potential to seriously devalue nonprofit related studies in Australia and damage Australia’s strong international reputation in this field.
Specifically, the list is highly inconsistent, with journals with lower impact measures, circulation and much higher acceptance rates such as the Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, Nonprofit Management and Leadership and Research in Governmental and Non-Profit Accounting being ranked B and thus outranking the most longstanding and prestigious international journals in the field namely the journals Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly and Voluntas (currently both ranked C).
According to the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, the aim of the ERA initiative is to "establish a world-class research quality assurance system that will assess Australian university researchers by comparing them not just with each other, but with the best in the world." Rating the top international journals in our field as Cs is inconsistent with this aim.
We have made submissions regarding this issue but to no effect. It seems to be that as nonprofit studies is not a recognised "field of research" (FOR) multidisciplinary nonprofit journals were outranked by less prestigious, subject specific marketing, management and accounting journals. This is also the case for the leading regional journal in the field Third Sector Review that is equivalent to the subject specific journals in terms of bibliometrics but was also awarded a C. A way forward would be to allocate nonprofit research a FoR code, in much the same way as, for example, tourism studies. We are very happy to work with the ARC on establishing FoR status.
The nonprofit sector is a rapidly growing area of research, social policy and social action here and internationally. This dynamic field is at the centre of such contemporary public policy debates as the future of federal social policy, the changing role of religion in public life, national service, and the privatization of public services. According to the 2006/07 ABS data, the Australian nonprofit sector:
• Had 41 000 economically significant nonprofit organisations.
• Employed 890,000 people, 8.6% of Australians in employment
• Had an income of $76 billion
• Contributed $34 billion, or 3.4%, to GDP
• Made an economic contribution equivalent to that of the government administration and defence industry and one and a half times the size of the economic contribution of the agriculture industry.
• Had over 13 million Australians (86% of adults) belonging to at least one nonprofit association; (48% belonged to at least three organisations)
• Had just under 1 million Australians holding office in a nonprofit organisation
Led by the Australian New Zealand Third Sector Researchers (ANZTSR) group, Australia is at the forefront of research of this sector. In her most recent trip to New Zealand, Brenda Gainer, Royal Bank Professor of Nonprofit Management, at York University and president-elect of the main international body for nonprofit research – the International Society for Third-Sector, said
It is clear to me that the kind of work that ANZTSR researchers are producing has the potential not only to produce public benefit in your part of the world but to help those of us who are part of a vast international network of third sector researchers in our quest to contribute to the public good globally—for we, like you, are all dedicated to increasing the well-being of people and planet. Your work, focused on the Pacific region, is in the vanguard of global research on the third sector and you are part of a “global conversation” in which we look to you for leadership in many areas. Auckland 2008
By devaluing the top journals in the field of nonprofit research we are on a path that leads us away from accepted international best practice – just when we need more than ever to ensure that our researchers have international standing. We therefore request that the ARC revise the list according to the following recommendations. Relevant data relating to impact, citations, circulation, and rejection rates are provided below.
Australian New Zealand Third Sector Researchers
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
CHANGE FROM C TO A
Reason for change:
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (NSVQ) is the leading US journal in the field. It is the official journal of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) the leading US based interdisciplinary community of people dedicated to fostering through research and education, the creation, application and dissemination of knowledge on nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, civil society and voluntary action.. Visit the ARNOVA website at www.arnova.org
Thomson Reuters 2008 Journal Citation Reports®
2008 Ranking: 23/32 in Social Issues
2008 Impact Factor: 0.449
Rated A in Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) journal rankings list 2010
Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
CHANGE FROM C TO A
Reason for change:
The official journal of the main international body for nonprofit research – the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR).
Rated .045 in the SCImago Journal and Country Rank (SJR). SJR is a measure of the journal’s relative impact in its field, based on its number of citations and number of articles per publication year. For more information, visit: http://www.scimagojr.com/index.php
Rated 1 out of 16 in Public and Not-for-Profit Management by the German Association for Business Research. For more information, visit: www.v-h-b.de and click on Service.
Voluntas has applied for ISI ranking and this is in process
Total downloads increased 54% 2006-2007
1,600 hits Google scholar
NOTE: On a range of measures including impact, rejection rates, citations Voluntas and NSVQ’s international reputations are far superior to the currently rated B journals: Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, Nonprofit Management and Leadership and Research in Governmental and Non-Profit Accounting. We do not seek to downgrade these journals but to upgrade Voluntas and NVSQ.
Third Sector Review
CHANGE FROM C TO B
Reason for change
Third Sector Review is the leading journal in the filed in Australasia. It is the official journal of the Australian New Zealand Third Sector Researchers (ANZTSR) a network of people interested in pursuing or encouraging research into the Third Sector in Australia and New Zealand, the hundreds and thousands of private not-for-profit, community or voluntary organizations and the activities of volunteering and philanthropy.
The journal has an average paper/cite rate of 2..66 . Based on the journal quality assessment publication by UQ Faculty of Social Sciences in 2004 Third Sector Review was ranked as a Tier 2. (http://www.uq.edu.au/sbs/index.html?page=22919&pid=167).
The journal is abstract/Indexed in APAIS and can be obtained electronically through Informit and Academic One data bases.
Rated B in Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) journal rankings list 2010