Open letter to CEO of the Australian Research Council: Concerns about new ARC “no preprint rule”

(A pdf version of this letter is available here)

24 August 2021

Professor Sue Thomas
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Research Council

Dear Professor Thomas,

The Australian Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Mathematics and Statistics communities express grave concern about a recent change to Australian Research Council (ARC) rules to forbid reference to preprints anywhere in a grant application. We are particularly concerned about the impact on early career researchers whose ARC fellowship applications have recently been ruled ineligible because of a violation of this new rule.

We are not aware of any consultation with our scientific communities about this change. We urge the ARC to rescind this rule, as it is unworkable and inconsistent with standard practice in our disciplines.

Preprints are vital for the rapid dissemination of knowledge in physics, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics and statistics. This is particularly important in fields where there is a long lead-time between journal submission and publication. Citing preprints in publications, reports, or grant applications is an entrenched disciplinary norm in these fields. Experts and referees who encounter such citations know that preprints are not peer reviewed and are experienced in assigning them appropriate weight.

Preprint servers are also used to store other important scientific documents including white papers, PhD theses, software and instruction manuals, experimental design reports, and other technical documents. Although never intended for publication in a regular journal, it is common for such documents to be definitive references on certain topics and cited many hundreds of times.

Forbidding references to preprints prevents applicants from giving appropriate credit to the authors of ideas that informed their proposal. This constitutes academic misconduct. Doing so is contrary to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018, which requires researchers to both “Present information truthfully and accurately in proposing … research” (Principle 1) and “Appropriately reference and cite the work of others” (Principle 4).

Preprint servers, such as the physical sciences arXiv server, pioneered the development of open access publishing. They are an established part of the publishing landscape. Their use is fully consistent with the ARC Open Access Policy.

Major science funding agencies around the world permit or encourage preprints to be cited in grant proposals and funding reports. This includes the US funding agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the European Research Council (ERC), the French National Research Agency (ANR) and the UK funding agencies for Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPSRC), Biological Sciences (BBSRC) and Medical Sciences (MRC).

We are dismayed that promising research careers have been impacted and perhaps even ended because fellowship applicants cited preprints and other documents housed on preprint servers. We encourage the ARC to explore avenues to support the researchers affected.

We strongly recommend the ARC reverse its rule change as a matter of urgency, and permit authors to cite any relevant material in accordance with disciplinary conventions. We further recommend that any future proposed changes that represent a significant departure from disciplinary norms be subject to wider consultation with researchers and peak scientific bodies.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sven Rogge, President, Australian Institute of Physics (AIP)
Professor Steven Bottle, President, Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI)
Professor John Lattanzio, President, Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA)
Professor Ole Warnaar, President, Australian Mathematical Society (AustMS)
A/Professor Jessica Kasza, President, Statistical Society of Australia (SSA)
A/Professor John Holdsworth, President, Australian and New Zealand Optical Society (ANZOS)
Professor Anthony Dooley, Chair, Australian Council of Heads of Mathematical Sciences (ACHMS)
Professor Tim Marchant, Director, Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI)

Professor Brian P Schmidt AC FAA FRS, ANU Distinguished Professor, 2011 Nobel Laureate

Professor Harry Quiney, Head, School of Physics, The University of Melbourne
Professor Celine Boehm, Head, School of Physics, The University of Sydney
Professor Tim Senden, Director, Research School of Physics, The Australian National University
Professor Michael Morgan, Head, School of Physics and Astronomy, Monash University
Professor Susan Coppersmith, Head, School of Physics, University of New South Wales Sydney
Professor Peter Veitch, Head, School of Physical Sciences, The University of Adelaide
Professor Jingbo Wang, Head, Department of Physics, The University of Western Australia
Professor Igor Bray, Head, Physics and Astronomy, Curtin University
Professor Geoff Pryde, Head, Applied Maths and Physics, Griffith University
Professor David Spence, Interim Head, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Macquarie University
Professor Jamie Quinton, Head of Physics and Dean of Science, Flinders University
Professor Gary Bryant, Associate Dean (Physics), RMIT University
Professor John-David Dewsbury, Head, School of Science, UNSW Canberra
Dr Brenton Hall, Chair of Department of Physics and Astronomy, Swinburne University

Professor Scott Kable, Head, School of Chemistry, University of New South Wales Sydney
Professor Philip Gale, Head, School of Chemistry, The University of Sydney
Professor Richard O’Hair, Head, School of Chemistry, The University of Melbourne
Professor Phil Andrews, Head, School of Chemistry, Monash University
Professor Chris Sumby, Head of Chemistry, The University of Adelaide
Professor Alison Rodger, Head, School of Chemistry, Macquarie University
A/Professor David Wilson, Head, Department of Chemistry and Physics, La Trobe University
A/Professor Jennifer MacLeod, Head, School of Chemistry and Physics, Queensland U. of Technology
Professor Catherine Yule, Head, School of Science, Technology & Engineering, U. of the Sunshine Coast
A/Professor Andrew Seen, Head of Chemistry, University of Tasmania
Professor Richard John, Head of Chemistry, Griffith University

Professor Howard Bondell, Head, School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Melbourne
Professor Joseph Grotowski, Head, School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland
Professor Adelle Coster, Head, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of New South Wales
Professor Warwick Tucker, Head, School of Mathematics, Monash University
Professor Andrew Hassell, Interim Director, Mathematical Sciences Institute, ANU
Professor Andrew Bassom, Head of Discipline, Mathematics, University of Tasmania
Dr Maureen Edwards, Head, School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics, University of Wollongong
Dr Christopher Lenard, Head of Department of Mathematics and Statistics, La Trobe University
Professor Alan Welsh, Chair, National Committee for Mathematical Sciences

Professor Dragomir Neshev, ANU, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems (TMOS)
Professor Matthew Bailes, Swinburne University of Technology, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav)
Professor Elisabetta Barberio, The University of Melbourne, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics
Professor Lisa Kewley, Australian National University, Director, ARC Centre for Excellence in All-Sky Astrophysics in 3D (ASTRO 3D)
Professor Paul Mulvaney, The University of Melbourne, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science
Professor Peter Taylor, University of Melbourne, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers (ACEMS)
Professor Michael Fuhrer, Monash University, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technology (FLEET)
Professor Andrew White, The University of Queensland, Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS)

Abel Prize: call for nominations

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters hereby calls for nominations of candidates for the Abel Prize 2021.

The Abel Prize recognizes outstanding scientific work in the field of mathematics, including mathematical aspects of computer science, mathematical physics, probability, numerical analysis and scientific computing, statistics and applications of mathematics in the sciences.

The Abel Prize amounts to NOK 7,5 million.

The Abel Prize may be awarded to one single person, or shared for closely related fundamental contributions. The first instalment of the Abel Prize was in 2003. For laureates up until 2021, please consult

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters awards the Abel Prize on the basis of a recommendation from the Academy’s Abel Committee, chaired by an Academy member and consisting of four further members elected amongst names put forward by the International Mathematical Union and the European Mathematical Society. The Abel Committee receives all nominations and may itself nominate candidates for the Abel Prize. The name of the Abel Laureate will be announced in March 2022. The award ceremony will take place in Oslo in May 2022.

We hereby invite you (or your society or institution) to nominate candidate(s) for the Abel Prize. Your nomination should be accompanied by a description of the work and impact of the nominee/nominees, together with names of distinguished specialists in the field of the nominee/nominees who can be contacted for an independent opinion. When nominating it is a requirement to take into account that the nominee has adhered to general guidelines for research ethics.

Your letter of nomination should be sent no later than September 15, 2021.

For further information and the nomination form, please consult

Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine course on disease modelling

The AITHM is running a short course on infectious disease modelling. Please circulate the below information and attached flyer to your networks, for any interested students and other parties.

What: Winter Short Course – Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases
Date: 19th to 23rd July 2021
Location: Online and Townsville (great place to be in winter!)
Who for: Aimed at participants with a basic understanding of infectious disease modelling and some basic programming skills
Who by: The Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine at James Cook University are running a short course
Duration: 5 days
Cost: $880, though there are up to 10 scholarships available.

For more information please see the attached flyer.

All applicants should contact the course organisers via email to express interest in attending either in person or online.

Applications submitted to: this email address
EOI deadline: 10th June 2021
Payment deadline: 30th June 2021

Community Petition Against University of Newcastle Job Cuts

The University of Newcastle has announced a major restructuring of the university that will affect hundreds of staff. If plans proceed unchanged, Mathematics and Statistics will be severely impacted with a large number of staff losing their position at the university. I call on all members of the Society to support their colleagues at Newcastle and sign the petition here.

S. Ole Warnaar, President of AustMS

Women in Mathematics Day

We are very excited to announce the Women in Mathematics Day to be held on Thursday 13th of May in Western Sydney University starting at 3:30pm both in person and via Zoom. The day is around the Maryam Mirzakhani birthday, who was the first ever woman who won the Fields medal. The event consists of talks by

  • Julia Collins (Edith Cowan University)
  • Luci Ellis (Reserve Bank of Australia)
  • Mary Myerscough (University of Sydney)
  • Rosalind Wang (Western Sydney University)

The goal of the day is to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM and to encourage an open, welcoming and inclusive work environment for everybody. Please join us and confirm your attendance here.

Best wishes, Roozbeh Hazrat


The Australian Science Policy Fellowship Program is an initiative of the Office of the Chief Scientist that aims to grow the diversity of expertise in the Australian Public Service (APS) workforce. It provides a pathway for early- to mid-career scientists to become skilled policy practitioners so they can contribute science to the policy process.

Fellows are employed as policy officers by participating Commonwealth Government host departments for 12 months. The Fellows bring a highly valued skillset, including data and analytical skills, and fresh perspectives on policy work.

“The Program has highlighted the endless opportunities that are available through working in the APS and is a great avenue for gaining meaningful, stable employment. I am excited about where this year will lead me to in the future.”

– Morgan, 2020-21 Science Policy Fellow

The 2021-22 cohort will be the first cohort of the permanent Program, following a successful three‑year pilot. Launched in July 2018, the Program has placed 31 Science Policy Fellows across 10 Commonwealth Government departments. The vast majority of Fellows have subsequently moved into positions within the APS since completing the Fellowship Program.

To be eligible for the Program, the applicant must be an Australian citizen, hold a STEM PhD, be no more than 15 years post PhD completion, and be prepared to relocate to Canberra for the duration of the 12 month Program.

The Program has made a huge difference because it allowed me to take my career in a new direction, while still recognising and valuing the skills I had developed as a research scientist.”

– Kim, 2018-19 Science Policy Fellow

Applications for the 2021-22 cohort are open from 7 April to 26 April 2021. Visit Australia’s Chief Scientist’s website for all the details on how to apply:

Two mathematics PhD scholarships: University of Western Sydney and University of Western Australia

James East is advertising a PhD scholarship on diagram monoids/categories and transformation semigroups.  Applicants with related backgrounds are welcome to apply.  Closing date is 28 Feb.  Please pass this on to any students who might be interested.

John Bamberg, Michael Giudici and Gordon Royle are advertising a PhD scholarship on the “synchronisation hierarchy of permutation groups” – link is below. Applicants with related backgrounds are welcome to apply.  Closing date is 28 Feb.  Please pass this on to any students who might be interested.

Practical Applications of Network Science 2021

We have been successful in obtaining AMSI funding to host the workshop Practical Applications of Network Science 2021, which will be held online.  RMIT University will be hosting this workshop with the aim of developing the skills of HDR students and bringing together researchers in the field. Invited research talks will cover a broad range of topics including the use of network science in transportation, biology and social media. This workshop will be held on the 22nd and 23rd of February in 2021. This workshop will consist of:

  1. Two hands-on tutorial/lab sessions  on network analytics using the R software environment. The sessions will start from an introductory level on the first day and proceed to working with real-world applications on the second day.
  2. Invited research talks showcasing network science and its applications in the afternoons followed by time for networking opportunities. 

This is a free event, but registration is essential. More details at


Arathi Arakala (RMIT University)
Sevvandi Kandanaarachchi (RMIT University)
Maria Prokofieva (Victoria University)

Lecturer, Mathematics and Statistics

The University of Sydney
School of Mathematics and Statistics

Closing date: 30th November 2020

Do you want to be part of a vibrant and collegial community of world-class mathematicians and statisticians? We are currently seeking to appoint an accomplished academic to the position of Lecturer in Mathematics. This position has been made possible by the awarding of a Future Fellowship titled “Unravelling the impact of social dynamics on human evolution through mathematical modelling” to Associate Professor Peter Kim. 

To succeed, you will be a talented and well-qualified mathematical scientist with expertise in any area that  strengthens the School’s profile and/or contributes strategically to university activities, particularly with regard to the research interests of Associate Professor Peter Kim and the details of his current project. This includes but is  not limited to applied mathematics, mathematical biology, and mathematical modelling. 

If appointed, you will be expected to make a significant contribution to teaching and learning practice, design and evaluation within the School/ Faculty while continuing to build up research contribution, expertise and impact.

For more information and to apply, click here.

Departmental Lecturer

University of Oxford
Department of Statistics

Closing Date: 9th November 2020

We are seeking up to two Departmental Lecturers to join the Department of Statistics, a world leader in research including computational statistics and statistical methodology, probability, bioinformatics and mathematical genetics. This is an exciting opportunity to engage in advanced study and primarily teach undergraduate and graduate students. These are temporary appointments until 30 September 2021 to make provision for teaching and allow the post-holders to conduct independent research. The Departmental Lecturers will have the skills and enthusiasm to contribute to teaching and assessment, and they will have the opportunity to carry out and publish original research.

As the successful Departmental Lecturer, you will have, or be close to completing, a PhD in probability, statistics or a related discipline and have an aptitude for teaching and some experience of teaching and research. You will have sufficient depth and breadth of knowledge in the subject to develop course materials and research proposals. You will also have a publication record and familiarity with the existing literature and research in the field commensurate with your career stage.

Queries about this post should be addressed to Professor Alison Etheridge and Dr Neil Laws

This post is fixed-term until 30 September 2021.

Only applications received before 12.00 midday on 9 November 2020 will be considered.

Interviews will be held on 17 November 2020.