The Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management’s Best Article Award is awarded annually to the best article from the previous calendar. The Award and $500 prize is announced at the Tertiary Education Management Conference. The journal publisher, Routledge, kindly make the best article freely accessible. The runners up will also be freely accessible for three months.
The best article is determined based on four criteria:
- Relevance to the journal’s Aims and Scope;
- Style and readability;
- Quality of the research process;
- Potential impact to the academic or practitioner community.
Best Article Award Winner 2020
Following a rigorous selection process by the journal editors and evaluation by the three members of the Best Article Committee, the 2020 Best Article Award was awarded to:
‘Responding to student plagiarism in Western Australian universities: the disconnect between policy and academic staff’ by Carmela de Maio, Kathryn Dixon and Shelley Yeo (Curtin University)
Carmela de Maio and colleagues’ article on staff responses to potential plagiarism was highly commended by the Committee members for its relevance to our Journal and potential impact. In our opinion, it is precisely the type of article that our Journal seeks to publish.
Student plagiarism is a critical topic for government, regulators and institutional managers, underpinning the integrity of the higher education system. However, most research focuses on student behaviours or policy frameworks for preventing plagiarism. Far less research examines policy implementation and staff behaviours, or the potential disconnect with policy objectives. de Maio and colleagues’ interviews revealed important tensions faced by academics between prioritising the students’ needs, the institution’s policy goals and their own careers.
The feedback from the three Committee members described the article as ‘very well situated within the Journal’s aims’, ‘an important paper, with a clear contribution’ and ‘very useful findings’. de Maio and colleagues’ research reminds us that no plagiarism policy, however well crafted, can achieve its goals without the support of academics. Academics are critical to detecting plagiarism and (rightly) have considerable discretion over how they respond to potential plagiarism incidents. However, stressed, overworked and insecurely employed academics may understandably turn a blind eye to plagiarism, particularly if institutional policies are time-consuming or require extensive substantiation.
Highly Commended Runners-up's
The Journal would also like to highly commend two runners-up for the Award, which were equally well assessed by the Committee.
‘Factors influencing dropout and academic performance: an Australian higher education equity perspective’ by Ian W. Li and David R. Carroll
Ian Li and David Carroll were commended by multiple Committee members for the thoroughness and quality of their article, including a ‘very clear and accessible explanation of method and findings’. The article’s ‘impact could be significant in terms of social justice implications’ and certainly should be considered by government and institutional managers when seeking to address these goals.
‘Interrogating strategies and policies to advance women in academic leadership: the case of Hong Kong’ by Sarah Jane Aiston, Chee Kent Fo and Wing Wah Law.
Sarah Jane Aiston and colleagues’ study was positively reviewed across all key criteria, but particularly for style, with all three Committee members rating it highly. One Committee member summed it up as follows: ‘Participant voice is judiciously used and provides a rich picture. Extremely engaging style of writing… very focused within the key aims of the journal in that it foregrounds policy and management and identifies the lack of policy impact in management practice and therefore the lived experiences of the participants.’