Profile – Professor Linda Butler
Professor Linda Butler
The Universtiy of Newcastle
Callaghan, NSW, 2308
Fax: +61 2 4921 7818
From 2000 to 2008, Linda Butler was a research Fellow and Head of the Research Evaluation and Policy Project (REPP), which was established at the Australian National University in 1994, in the Research School of Social Sciences. Prior to that, she was a founding member of its predecessor, the Performance Indicators Project, set up by Professor Paul Bourke in 1988. She has been a leading researcher the assessment of research for over 20 years.
Linda Butler is Australia’s leading expert in bibliometric analysis, and has undertaken detailed studies using the international journal literature to judge Australia's standing in research, and to identify its institutional and disciplinary areas of strength and weakness. Her findings on the effects of using publication counts to determine the distribution of some research funding to universities has had significant public policy impact. Her current research is concentrating on the identification and development of novel quantitative indicators for disciplines where standard bibliometric techniques are not appropriate. She has been a senior advisor to the Australian Government on the introduction of metrics to assess the quality of research in the Research Quality Framework (RQF) being developed to distribute block-funding to universities. She was also advised the Australian Research Council on the successor to the RQF, the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative.
In addition to her interest in bibliometrics, a major theme of Linda’s recent research has focussed on assessing the impact of research beyond academe. In particular, it has looked at developing indicators and methods for assessing the cultural, environmental and economic impact of research on the wider community. This work informed developments in the RQF, and is now of significant interest in the UK as its new Research Excellence Framework (REF) seeks to assess the economic and social impact of research, as well as its impact on public policy. Linda was also recently appointed onto an international assessment panel for a Canadian Academy of Health Sciences project developing a framework to measure returns on investment in health research.
Linda’s expertise is widely sought in the current climate of increased interest in assessing the impact of research. In addition to her policy advice for the RQF and ERA, she is, in partnership with RAND Europe, a member of the HEFCE Framework Agreement that was established to support the development of a new research assessment and funding system in the UK. Linda has worked with the European Science Foundation to develop more robust indicators for social science and humanities research. She was also co-opted to a National Health and Medical Research Council working group established by its Research Committee to devise measures of research impact and achievement that can be applied across its funding portfolio. She is on the editorial committee of Scientometrics and Research Evaluation, and has given many invited international presentations, most recently in the UK, Germany, Spain, South Africa, New Zealand and Japan.