The Australian Research Council (ARC) has released the second volume of the inaugural State of Australian University Research 2015–16 series.
Based on the results of Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), Australia’s national research evaluation framework, the series reviews the quality of Australian university research benchmarked against world standards.
The first volume of the series, the ERA National Report, was released in December 2015. It presented a comprehensive assessment of the quality of Australian research across disciplines.
The second volume, entitled Institutional Insights, now focusses on some selected areas of interest to provide a deeper understanding of the state of Australian university research.
Together, the reports find that the quality of research output across Australia's higher education sector has improved over the course of the three rounds of ERA between 2010 and 2015.
This includes a steady increase in the proportion of ERA ratings 'above' and 'well above' world standard, and a consistent decrease in units rated 'below' or 'well below' world standard.
ERA 2015 also collected gender data at a discipline level for the first time. The 2015 submissions revealed that more males than females were employed as research staff in Australian universities, but there were significant differences across research disciplines.
In some areas more females than males were undertaking research. They include Education (65% female); Language, Communication and Culture (57% female); Psychology and Cognitive Sciences (56% female); Studies in Human Society (52% female); and Medical and Health Sciences (52% female)