Researchers say a ban on preprint material citations in funding applications is a ‘remarkably stupid own-goal for Australian science’
Researchers have been deemed ineligible for critical career grants by the Australian Research Council as the result of a rule change that has been described as punitive, “extraordinary” and out of keeping with modern scientific practices.
Superficially this ARC policy is sound. Some pre-prints are junk science that would be unlikely to survive peer review. But the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the academic landscape. In some ways for the better. The fact a paper appeared on a pre-print server should prompt a closer look at the paper, not the disqualification of the grant applicant. We are left wondering, “What were they thinking ?”
Guardian Australia has spoken to six researchers at four universities, in the fields of astronomy, computer science and physics, whose applications were deemed ineligible as a result of the technicality.
All spoke on the condition of anonymity, for fear that publicly sharing their names would jeopardise their chances of appeal.
Research published in academic journals undergoes rigorous peer-review prior to publication. But it is common practice for scientists in certain fields to also upload their work, prior to publication, in preprint form to servers such as the arXiv.