DARMA update 30 November

30 Nov 2017 23:20 | Olaf Svenningsen (Administrator)

Where did November go? Did anybody see it? I was supposed to write a blog in November…

Maybe the reason time flies by is that this past month has been so eventful. During this very last hour of the month, let me get a couple of things off my chest:

First, and to my great pleasure, DARMA is happy to support the next Westensee Workshop entitled the “Impact Canvas Workshop” which is organized by, and at, DTU on January 29th. The Impact Canvas was presented at EARMA’s Annual Conference in Malta earlier this year by DARMA’s long-time friend, Dr. Jörg Langwaldt of Tampere University in Finland. Read more about the workshop, and sign up before January 15th, 2018 (but why wait so long..?).

Second, DARMA has established a LinkedIn group, to promote the association and provide an additional channel of communication for matters relevant to the association. Check it out and please join: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12067709

Third, the INORMS 2018 Conference will be held in Edinburgh, still in the UK, on 4–7 June 2018 as joint conference between INORMS and our British sister association, ARMA. It is certainly going to be a spectacular event, and I would encourage all DARMA members to consider attending – and even better, contribute! DARMA’s board will submit an abstract, building on our presentation from the EARMA AC in Malta, and we hope to see many more Danish contributions. The deadline for abstracts is January 15th, 2018, and the abstract submission page can be accessed here…

If your abstract is accepted – to any conference – don’t forget to apply for a DARMA travel fellowship!

Fourth, in October I attended the SRA International Conference in Vancouver, Canada, and the INORMS Steering Group meeting. The conference was spectacular, as always, with a plethora of interesting, relevant, and thought-provoking presentations. One that received much – and well-deserved – praise was by Tina Lewis of Copenhagen University, with the title “LEAN Activities in a Research Administration - Results No One Expected”. Very well done, Tina!

The second session that made a lasting impression was by Kathy Grzech of the University of Kentucky in, well, Kentucky. The topic was “Revisiting Rigor and Reproducibility in Grant Applications” to the NIH. I would recommend that you note this term, rigor and reproducibility, because I have a feeling that this may be the next big thing to hit the world of research administration, after the impact wave.

In brief, rigor and reproducibility are new evaluation criteria, introduced last year by the NIH to address serious problems with the reproducibility in an unacceptably large number of research projects. NIH’s Director is cited in the presentation: 

“Exacerbating this situation [problems with reproducibility] are the policies and attitudes of funding agencies, academic centres and scientific publishers. Funding agencies often uncritically encourage the overvaluation of research published in high‐profile journals. Some academic centres [...] provide incentives for publication in such journals, including promotion and tenure, and in extreme cases, cash rewards.”

Why is this so interesting? Well, the widespread practice of encouraging publication in high-profile journals – which is basically written into law in this country – is now identified as a problem by the world’s largest research funder. It is turning everything upside down.

I found this presentation so interesting that I contacted Kathy and got permission to put her slides on DARMA’s website, accessible to DARMA members. You can access the PDF file here and read the entire presentation yourself. The challenges are outlined in slides 4–15, but the entire presentation is well worth reading.

Fifth, DARMA’s board is busy preparing DARMA’s Annual Meeting 2018, which also marks the 10th anniversary of the Association. We hope to be able to offer an Annual Meeting that is something more than usual, so clear your calendars for 17–18 May 2018. I really would like to see as many as possible of you in Nyborg!

Sixth and last, on February 1st I will take up the position as head of Research Services at Lund University in Sweden, and I will thus be leaving my job at SDU. Since my wife is happy with her job at SDU, and we have a very good living in Odense, we will remain here, and I will commute a couple of times per week to Lund. I will also remain as Chair of DARMA until the Annual Meeting, but will not stand for re-election, for obvious reasons. 

I made it! There are still a few minutes left of November, so I can call this the "November DARMA Update"... ;-)

Take care out there, and enjoy the pleasures and dangers of “julefrokost”! I know that I will...

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