Journal Archives

Fall 2023 

12-01-2023 02:53 PM

From the Editor's Desk

Author

Jennifer E. Taylor, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Rush Medical Center and University

The Journal of Research Administration (JRA) is the premier scholarly publication in the field of research administration and management. We publish timely critical work that adds to the knowledge base for research administration and contributes to enhancing the work of research administrators across the globe. Through these contributions, JRA serves as an essential educational and career development resource for our field. Our contributors share best practices and innovative approaches to address the challenges and opportunities that research administrators confront in our fast-paced, ever-changing contexts while advancing their careers by publishing peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles that enhance our field.

As the current Editor-in-Chief of JRA, I am always mindful that the success of JRA is built on the hard work and dedication of our current and prior incredible staff, editors, reviewers, and the SRAI communication committee members. I want to thank our authors, editorial board members, and staff for all their efforts that have enabled us to put together what is another exceptional issue of JRA. The current issue is again characterized by high-quality, important manuscripts that will contribute to the knowledge base and work of those in research administration and those who depend on that work. The continuing excellence of the contributions we receive for inclusion in JRA reflects the ongoing growth of the field that so many in SRAI and our field, more broadly, have nurtured over the more than 50-year history of JRA and SRAI.

The articles in the current issue of JRA reflect the broad range of issues and challenges research administrators deal with on a daily basis and the innovative and important solutions they bring to bear as they conduct their work. The manuscripts range from a consideration of elements of the administrative burdens that accompany federal funding to considerations of aspects of who we are as professionals and how we can contribute to enhancing the infrastructure and the efficacy of the work of the investigators we support. As always, we hope that researchers and research administrators across the international membership comprising SRAI will continue to view JRA as a preferred outlet for their work and a source of critical conceptual and practical scholarship to guide that work.

Our first article focuses on one of the more pressing issues that research administrators and the investigators they support must answer as they seek to address the needs of those we work to support. Dr. Schiller of Notre Dame University and Dr. LeMire of the University of North Dakota, building on and extending the work of the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) and other groups, provide us with the results of a survey of post-award administrators regarding administrative burden in their article entitled “A Survey of Research Administrators: Identifying Administrative Burden in Post-Award Federal Research Grant Management”.  The authors go on to offer important suggestions regarding practices and policies that may help to alleviate post-award burdens at both the institutional and federal levels.

Our next manuscript comes from a multi-national collaboration of investigators from Portugal and the United Kingdom. This team includes José M.R.C.A. Santos of the Centro de Investigação de Montanha (CIMO), Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia in Portugal, Carolina Varela from the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal, and Simon Kerridge from Research & Innovation Services, University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom. Their manuscript asks, “Who are the Professionals at the Interface of Science (PIoSs) Working at Research Funding, Science Policy-making, and Similar Organisations?” They argue that although researchers have frequently been studied, the PIoS community has received far less attention. The authors suggest that areas such as the profiles and roles of those in the PIoS community and those in non-research-performing organisations have not been explicitly addressed in the literature. The paper reports on the results of an ongoing project studying the profiles, roles, and functions of PIoSs working at organisations such as research funders, policymakers, and think tanks. They also consider the involvement in professional associations of this professional community.

Drs. Pryor and Steinberg of Boston College, in their article, “Making Interdisciplinarity Concrete: Views from Leaders of Interdisciplinary Research Buildings in Higher Education,” offer a consideration of what they argue is “one of the costliest—and increasingly popular strategies that campus leaders and research administrators employ to spur interdisciplinary research in U.S. higher education is designated interdisciplinary research spaces and buildings.”  They point out that we have little data on who leads the work in these interdisciplinary research spaces, what challenges they face, or their effectiveness and aims. To address these and related questions, the authors interviewed 26 leaders of and reviewed related documents concerning interdisciplinary research buildings at ten U.S. higher education institutions. They describe types of interdisciplinary building leaders, some of the novel challenges, lessons learned, suggested leadership practices, and how leaders evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts.

Our next manuscript continues our recent special issue focus on how research leaders can support diversity, equity, and inclusion. This paper focuses on the implementation, efficacy, and future directions of a pilot program to expand research on alcohol use disorders in two underserved populations.  Jessica Hanson from the University of Minnesota and her colleagues at Washington State University offer us a consideration of the “Implementation of a Pilot Project Program to Expand Research on Alcohol Use Disorders in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities.” This manuscript describes a pilot effort of the Native Center for Alcohol Research and Education (NCARE) Pilot Project Core. Employing four calls for applications from 2018 to 2021, research investigators interested in conducting alcohol use disorder research in partnership with Tribal communities were recruited, with a focus on early-stage and American Indian and Alaska Native investigators. Eight pilot projects were awarded with two primary research areas, epidemiological studies, and intervention projects. Once funded, the Pilot Project Core assisted pilot project investigators with all aspects of their work. The authors discuss the results of these awards, including subsequent efforts to obtain external funding and produce manuscripts.  They conclude that the NCARE pilot program provides a model for similar programs seeking to support early-stage investigators identifying as AI/AN or other groups underrepresented in science.

Jake Carlson of the University of Buffalo provides a case study of how data management plans can be used as a communications and information-sharing tool and the barriers to doing so. In his article “Untapped Potential: A Critical Analysis of the Utility of Data Management Plans in Facilitating Data Sharing,” he points out that university administration and campus service providers could potentially leverage the content of data management plans to facilitate compliance and reduce the burden on researchers. He goes on to apply the results of a content analysis to discuss recommendations to funding agencies, university administration, and campus service providers regarding ways to improve the utility of data management plans for supporting data sharing and compliance.

The final contribution to this issue comes from the University of the Western Cape. The team of Jo-Celene De Jongh, Ph.D., Simone Titus, Ph.D., Nicolette Roman, Ph.D., and José Frantz, Ph.D. in their manuscript “The Role of Research Units At a Higher Education Institution: Intention or Reality?” explore key stakeholders’ perspectives of the role of the research units within a faculty that is clinically driven, and how these units could contribute towards developing and strengthening interprofessional postgraduate research, collaboration and capacity development amongst staff. Employing a qualitative, exploratory, descriptive approach, data were gathered from individual face-to-face, in-depth, semi-structured interviews with each of the 15 participants. The authors discuss five themes that emerged from the thematic analysis and conclude that the study's findings indicated that the stakeholders perceived the role of the units differently. Based on these findings, they offer a potentially helpful model for further strengthening the target constituencies' capacity and involvement in research and related activities.

I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I do.

IMPORTANT NOTICES: I want to draw your attention to several significant changes in how we process submissions and reviews for the JRA. 

  1. As I discussed in our last issue, as reflected on our webpage, there has been a significant advancement in the infrastructure of JRA to facilitate and enhance the journal's operation. After a long and complex process, JRA has recently “gone live” in its move to using ScholarOne software to aid in submitting, reviewing, and managing manuscripts.  This will lead to a significant increase in efficiency, speed of review, and ease of communication. Getting through this process required considerable time and effort from many individuals and they have worked to make the ScholarOne system an essential new resource for JRA.  For this, I would like to thank everyone involved in making this happen.
  2. The information necessary to use this system, including the process for creating an account to sign-in, is available at https://www.srainternational.org/resources/journal/become-a-journal-author.
  3. With the implementation of the Scholar One system, updated author guidelines have also taken effect. Please refer to the JRA webpage 
    https://www.srainternational.org/resources/journal/become-a-journal-author to ensure you are using the guidelines in effect if you are submitting a manuscript or intending to do so in the future.
  4. Finally, I want to remind you once again that, in 2022, we began the process of pre-publishing articles online soon after they had been formally accepted. Once copyedited and proofed by the authors, these articles will be posted on the JRA webpage and then as part of the framework of the complete Fall or Spring JRA issue in which it will be published. We hope that this will get the important lessons that our articles offer readers to them to draw on much sooner. We also hope that it will encourage potential authors to consider JRA as an outlet for their work. It will allow their work to be available in a discoverable and citable form sooner than if it was held until the formal issues were released.

As Editor-in-Chief of JRA, I continue to be excited about being given the charge to continue to help move our field forward. Having the opportunity to receive and read the incredibly diverse and exciting submissions we receive is one that I feel very honored to have. Those submissions reflect the work of so many talented and committed professionals. Please email me directly with any input, questions, or suggestions you may have. Once again, it bears repeating that the team behind the Editor is essential to the success of the Journal. The administration of SRAI and the communications committee of JRA provide essential guidance and input on all phases of JRA, including being a vital resource for addressing unique situations. 

The Editorial Board members are essential partners in ensuring that the manuscripts that appear in the Journal are exceptional and that they make valuable contributions to the work of our readers and the field of research administration more broadly. They put in countless hours for no compensation beyond the significant demands of their formal roles in their home institutions. The JRA and its continued growth would not be possible without their contributions. I am in awe of their commitment to both JRA and the continued growth in excellence of the work of research administrators.  The Author Fellowship Committee and the Author Fellow Advisors, under the direction of Holly Zink, provide essential guidance to the Author Fellows as they develop and publish their first scholarly articles. I am grateful that they will continue to offer this unique and vital work for JRA. If you are interested in applying to be part of the Author Fellowship program as either an advisor or fellow, please visit https://www.srainternational.org/resources/journal/author-fellowship. The deadline to apply is Friday, December 1.

I am also profoundly thankful for the work of the SRAI staff, who have shared their knowledge, guidance, and expertise with me in my work as Editor-in-Chief. Gina Snyder is not behind the scenes but is very much visible as an ongoing participant in working with reviewers and authors, always quickly, thoughtfully, and with kindness. As always, she merits special recognition and thanks. As I have noted many times, she is the day-to-day beating heart of JRA – who ensures the production of the Journal meets the highest professional standards.

Lastly, as always, if you are a non-SRAI member and wish to have the Journal delivered via email, please sign up through the online system at https://www.srainternational.org/resources/journal/author-fellowship.  

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