Quality Research Vital in Career of Academics
Keynote speakers at the first day of the CLMS Research Day highlighted the importance of quality research and its impact on an academic’s career at UKZN during the College of Law and Management Studies’ annual Research Day. Presentations were delivered by CAPRISA Director, Professor Salim Abdool Karim and College Dean of Research, Professor Marita Carnelley.
Abdool Karim’s address titled: “Research Productivity Rewards: Thoughts on the Journal Article Criterion”, examined the positives and shortfalls of UKZN’s productivity system. He said the system was never designed as a human resources tool and questioned if research contribution could really be measured.
‘Productivity units should not be used as a bean counting exercise but rather in conjunction with a qualitative assessment of research contribution. We should find a way to reward research impact through citation as this shows that people find value in what you are doing and also how your colleagues are using your research,’ said Abdool Karim.
‘You might find yourself having to pay back the money!’ was the stern warning from Carnelley during her keynote address titled: “Identifying Predatory Open-Access Academic Journal Publishers in Light of the SA Department of Higher Education and Training’s Decision to Retrospectively De-accredit Certain Journals”. The talk addressed the issue and consequences of academics publishing in journals on the Beall’s lists.
‘There you sit, working hard on your research, thinking your article will reward you with PUs and bonuses but because you have published in a journal on the discredited list you are hit with the realities of not adhering to the DoHET required due diligence.’
The keynote speakers on the second day, Professor Managay Reddi, Dean and Head of the Law School, highlighted the direct and indirect discrimination faced by female judges in South Africa and the need for gender transformation of the judiciary. UKZN Pro Vice-Chancellor: Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath focused on the urgent need for research to make a difference in the country and meet the needs of the developing world.
Reddi highlighted research that showed that where groups were diverse in race and gender, it increased the level of the performance of the group. It spontaneously brought more experience and a wider knowledge-base to the table that impacted positively to the decisions made. Adding to the gender diversity of the bench in South Africa could therefore only better the judiciary and thus justice for all.
Ramjugernath challenged academics to be innovative and to look to future trends and to ask themselves whether they are doing research into what matters? He referred to Dion Chang’s top 10 predictions of the future: disorder – the way of the new world order; delayed parenting; generation Z; wearable tech; digital healthcare; drones; online shopping; maturing of social media laws and e-sport.
The two Research Days are part of an on-going strategic commitment to build a research ethos in the College through creating a supportive environment where researchers, through sharing their research, can benefit from feedback and guidelines from their peers.