Many Australian research bodies link to the National Statement. They do so through websites, policy documents, professional development material and other resources.
This is logical and makes it easier for researchers and others to access the national policy/guidance material.
Another reason to do this is that it makes it easier for researchers to see the external impetus for the institution’s arrangements and provides a source of further information and guidance.
In June 2018, those of us who link to the National Statement had a rude awakening when the NHMRC web developers altered the URLs of all the documents and material on the NHMRC web site.
What they did in practice was add “updated in 2018” to the address. This made sense superficially, but it broke the link all of us had to the Nation Statement and specific provisions of the document.
In the time shortly after the update to the NHMRC’s web site, we had to scramble to update our links.
Many of us might not have realised the problem until our research communities started grumbling about broken links.
We are now facing the prospect of a repeat of the same problem. Currently the NHMRC is conducting a public consultation about proposed revisions to Sections 4 and 5. When the changes are formally implemented, the National Statement will no longer have been updated in 2018, the update date will be 2021.
If the NHMRC’s web developers do the same thing as before, they will update the URLs and so break all our links again. There are IT solutions to the problem, but those entail extra work and expense. Consequently, we need to keep an eye out for any national changes that require hurried work at the institutional level.