A poor fit for journalism research

Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Citation only.

Pearson, M. (2011). A poor fit for journalism research. Australian Journalism Review, 33(1), 25-27.

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2011 HERDC submission. FoR code: 190301

© Copyright Journalism Education Association of Australia Inc., 2011





Excellence is a worthy goal. It is testimony to human progress that every generation has been advanced by a few individuals who have settled for nothing less. Often, however, those very same individuals have been derided by their peers or have failed the institutional tests of their day, only to have their work acknowledged by future scholars. It took the research establishment four decades to recognise the pioneering genetic discoveries of 1983 Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock. Her work in the 1940s was so poorly regarded by her contemporaries that she was forced to publish most of her findings in the annual reports of her laboratory (Cherfas & Connor, 1983, p.78).

The danger of the Excellence in Research for Australia Initiative (ERA) is that key elements of its design are already disadvantaging disciplines, institutions and individual researchers whose work does not fit neatly within politically and bureaucractically defined research "quality". There may be no Barbara McClintocks among us, but journalism educators are already suffering the consequences of a flawed system offering a poor fit with research outputs often aimed at being relevant to professional practice in this country.

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This document has been peer reviewed.