New PhD scholarship opportunities for COKI

The Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative (COKI) has up to three PhD scholarships available for outstanding prospective students with an interest working at the intersection of policy, data science, and institutional studies and a passion for the potential for Open Knowledge.

Three projects have been identified as part of the Curtin allocation of Australian Government RTP Scholarships. Each will probe a different aspect of open knowledge within universities, and each has the potential to be shaped by a scholarship holder to focus on different aspects of the bigger picture. These scholarships are extremely competitive. The majority of scholarships are for Australian citizens and residents. However a small number of scholarships are available for overseas students and exceptional students should enquire as to their suitability for this scheme. 

The Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative (COKI) is a highly interdisciplinary team including software engineers, data scientists, sociologists, librarians, statisticians, and theorists working to understand, develop and implement a future for Universities as Open Knowledge Institutions. This is a unique opportunity for scholars who want to expand their experience beyond a narrow disciplinary background and make a difference in the world.

A PhD within the COKI team offers the opportunity to develop skills in policy, analysis, critical theory and software design and data science. This combination of skills will place candidates in a strong position to work at the intersection of society, policy and technology in the future.

For more details contact COKI co-lead Professor Cameron Neylon.


Diversity, Equity and Impact: Exploring the Open Knowledge performance of Universities

The higher education and research landscape is peppered with a growing number of examples of grass-roots efforts to transform universities into institutions that both represent and include the diversity of the communities they serve; and to find better ways to mobilise the knowledge that universities create in order to maximise its positive impact. As digital technologies create new possibilities for the ways in which data can be gathered and shared, the scope for communities to become active partners in the research process is growing. Researchers and universities are experimenting with new approaches to working with communities to help shape research directions and questions, as well as the scholarship, and education, that research enables.   

However, the open knowledge aspirations and practices of research communities exist in tension with the ways in which university performance is measured and rewarded (Benneworth et al 2019). In spite of a growing list of genuine, thoughtful, and often creative efforts to ensure that knowledge generated within universities benefits the widest possible communities, universities themselves continue to be assessed, ranked and evaluated according to narrow measures of performance that depend on limited data sets and ignore the value of open knowledge. The absence of evaluation frameworks capable of recognising or capturing open knowledge efforts within universities makes it difficult for university administrators to systematically support open knowledge across an institution; or to engage effectively with the challenges and opportunities that universities face in the context of rapid social and technological change.  

This PhD project engages with this gap: exploring the potential for new approaches to tracking and exploring the open knowledge efforts of universities in order to support diversity, equity and impact in higher education and research. The project will contribute to a larger program of work being carried out by the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative: a major strategic project combining cloud-based computing approaches with critical perspectives.


Tracking Australia’s Research Response to the COVID Pandemic

The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the world. At the centre of responding to these changes are questions of knowledge. Not just how our existing research systems can respond faster, but how knowledge is used, and how it reaches the right location, what are the risks to our institutions and what needs to change? These are not merely questions of medical research but issues in economics, public policy, management, media and communications.

Utilising the data resources of the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative, the project will focus on identifying, interpreting and understanding changes in our research production and communication systems and organisations. We expect to see changes in production (type, number and subject of outputs), rhetoric (what universities say about how what they do matters), economics (both finances and systems of resource allocation), and policy. The effects of these changes will be tracked throughout the course of the project during this unprecedented time.


What is excellent Astronomy? Probing disciplinary concepts of research excellence 

“Excellence” is seen as a core goal for researchers, their institutions and their funders. Yet what we mean by excellence is hard to pin down. We know that it differs across disciplines and across settings. We know that the many ways in which it is measured are largely inadequate. And we also know that these measurements have a range of perverse effects, from limiting diversity and excluding new talent, to creating incentives to engage in fraud, and incentives against work on public engagement, or access to knowledge.

In collaboration with the Curtin Institute for Radio Astronomy, the study will leverage the existing data assets developed through the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative alongside the unique data available to the astronomy community through the Astrophysics Data System. It will combine ethnographic examination of astronomy researchers and research with large scale textual analysis and data science to develop new tools that dig beyond counting of citations to consider how researchers and their institutions contribute, and how this differs across different disciplines.