Frequently asked questions

  • HERDC (Higher Education Research Data Collection)
  • ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia)
  • La Trobe University's AWPS (Academic Workload Planning System)

What is HERDC?

HERDC (Higher Education Research Data Collection) is research income and research publications data submitted by universities each year to the federal Department of Education. Data collected, along with data from the Higher Education Student Data Collection is used to determine annual allocations to universities for research block grants.

How are HERDC and ERA different?

ERA differs from HERDC in that ERA is held every 3 years (HERDC is annual) with a 6 year assessment period for publications for ERA. La Trobe affiliation is not required for ERA, but is a requirement for HERDC and to be eligible for ERA, staff must be employed on or before a pre-determined ERA census date.

What data is collected for HERDC?

All eligible research publications in the following categories are collected; books, book chapters, journals and conference proceedings. The publication must be the most recent completed calendar year and there must be La Trobe affiliation on the publication. Staff and higher degree research students are included. The publication is claimed only once.

What is My Publications and how does it work?

The La Trobe University system for automated harvesting of research publications is called My Publications and uses the Symplectic Elements software. More than 60 research institutions around the world use this system including the University of New South Wales, the University of Melbourne, Victoria University and Macquarie University. The system automatically searches electronic databases such as Web of Science and locates publications assigned to an individual.

What are the benefits of My Publications?

  • More efficient process, academics report publications and provide an electronic copy once – for HERDC, ResearchMaster and the Repository
  • Automated dissemination of data from the harvesting system (My Publications) into ResearchMaster and the Research Online repository.
  • Improved timeliness of publication data collection
  • Increased full-text publications in the repository
  • Automated harvesting of metadata to reduce manual input
  • Maximised visibility of the university's research output
  • Increased access to publications
  • More effectively and efficiently meet Government reporting requirements

Where can I find more information about FoR codes?

Where can researchers find more information and ask questions?

Contact the Research Team at the library at

What is eligible for inclusion in the HERDC?

Books, book chapters, journal articles and conference publications are included in the HERDC. They can be in print or electronic format. The publication must be the most recent completed calendar year and there must be La Trobe affiliation on the publication. Staff and higher degree research students are included.

Books must meet the definition of research and must meet all of the following:

Book chapters:

  • Must meet the definition of research and;
  • Must have an ISBN
  • Must have been published by a commercial publisher or must have been peer reviewed
  • The author must affiliated with the claiming Higher Education Provider

Journal articles:

  • Must meet the definition of research and;
  • Must have an ISSN
  • Must have been published by a commercial publisher or must have been peer reviewed
  • The author must affiliated with the claiming Higher Education Provider

Conference publications:

  • Must be published in full. The papers may appear in any format.
  • Be peer reviewed
  • Be presented at conferences, workshops or seminars of national or international significance

If NOT eligible for inclusion in the HERDC – do I still add to My Publications?

Add all the following to My Publications to create a complete list of your research outputs.

Books that do not meet the criteria to be eligible for HERDC but should be included in My Publications:

  • Textbooks
  • Anthologies
  • Edited books
  • Creative works such as novels
  • Translations (unless they have a major demonstrable original research component)
  • Revisions or new editions
  • Manuals and handbooks
  • Theses

Book chapters that do not meet the criteria to be eligible for HERDC but should be included in My Publications:

  • Chapters in textbooks
  • Entries in reference books
  • Anthologies
  • Revisions of chapters in edited books
  • Forewords
  • Brief introductions or editorials
  • Appendices
  • Literary or creative pieces such as collections of short stories
  • Translations (unless they have a major demonstrable original research component)

Journals that do not meet the criteria to be eligible for HERDC but should be included in My Publications:

  • Letters to the editor
  • Case studies
  • Articles designed to inform practitioners on existing knowledge in a professional field
  • Articles in newspapers and popular magazines
  • Editorials
  • Book reviews, review of art exhibitions, concerts, theatre productions
  • Brief commentaries and communications of original research

Conference publications that do not meet the criteria to be eligible for HERDC but should be included in My Publications:

  • Papers that appear only in a volume handed out to conference participants
  • Keynote addresses
  • Plenary addresses
  • Poster presentations

I have co-authored a paper, do all the authors claim the same publication. If not, who claims the publication?

Claim all the publications that appear with your name as these will appear on your profile. Nominate all HERDC eligible publications, even those you have co-authored and even if your co-author has already nominated the publication. All co authors need to nominate the publication for the University to get the maximum DEST points.

What about publications with an affiliate?

The author of the research publication being counted in the Research Publication Return, must be affiliated with the claiming Higher Education Provider and the affiliation must be identified either within or on the work being claimed.

Adjunct fellows, honorary staff members and staff on leave are considered affiliated with a Higher Education Provider if the provider is identified in the by-line.

Which login should I use to access My Publications?

Use the same login and password that you use to login to the La Trobe system.

Why can't I log into 'My Publications'?

Please contact the Library Research Team at for assistance.

Is there a way that I can see all my publications, not just the ones for 2014 & 2015?

In April we will be loading the publications data from Research Master from previous years into My Publications so you will be able to see a more complete list of your publications.

If I do not claim a publication in My Publications, will it remain in the system and can I claim it later?

Please claim all your publications now, regardless of their HERDC eligibility. Please nominate all your 2015 HERDC eligible publications in the HERDC tab now, as this has a direct impact on the amount of funding the university receives.

I had a publication that came out in 2015, but with a 2014 publication date. Is this included in the 2016 HERDC return of 2015 publications?

The University can include 2014 publications in their submission if the publications were published after the submission date for the 2014 data collection (June 30, 2015). You must be able to provide verification that the publication was not produced until after the submission date for that years publication return i.e: that the publication, although containing a 2014 publication date was not published until after 30 June 2015. A letter from the publisher will be considered sufficient verification material to support the claim. This letter must be uploaded to My Publications.

I have entered a variation of my name, why am I not getting any publications showing?

The My Publications system can take up to 24 hours to run a harvest after entering in a name change. Please be patient and check again tomorrow.
If there are still no publications it may be that there are no La Trobe affiliated 2015 publications under that form of your name, or they are not represented in the databases that are harvested. You will need to enter these manually.

I cannot enter some of the bibliographic details for book chapters?

You do not need to complete the entire form. The fields that are must be completed are:
  • Author(s) – the co-author(s)
  • Titles – both the chapter and book titles
  • Publisher
  • Editor(s)
  • Place of publication
  • Publication date – just the year
  • Pagination – Begin page, End page and Page count
  • Chapter Number
  • Number of Chapters in book
  • ISBN-13 – if the publication has one
  • DOI – if the publication has one
  • Status – select Published

Do I need to provide full text evidence of my publications and how do I do that?

Yes you need to provide evidence of your publications.

To upload a publication into My Publications, you will need to be in the HERDC tab, then click on the portrait shaped blue icon (NB. This option is only available if the work has been nominated) the page that opens has two options for uploading files; 1. You can drag and drop the files into the segregated area on the page then select done. 2. Select the "+ Select files" and browse to the file's location select open and done. To view the object you loaded just click on the icon.

The University is required to retain evidence that the publication meets the criteria against the category being reported.  The University must be able to provide the following details; contents, preface, introduction and pages showing all bibliographical information as appropriate, ISBN or ISSN, author(s), publisher and all dates referring to copyright, publication, printing and distribution.

For books, you would need to scan and upload the pages that contain the author, ISBN, publisher, copyright and date published information.

For book chapters, scan and upload the chapter, in addition to the pages of the book that contain the author, ISBN, publisher, copyright and date published information. 

For journal articles, a copy of the article, ensuring that the copy includes the ISSN and the name of the journal. 

For conference publications, a copy of the conference publication, including proof of peer review and that the conference is on national or international significance.

What is a "non-traditional research output" (NTRO)?

A non-traditional research output is anything which is not in a standard text-based format. ERA defines eligible NTROs as:
  • Original Creative Works
  • Live Performance of Creative Works
  • Recorded/Rendered Creative Works
  • Curated or Produced Substantial Public Exhibitions and Events
  • Research Reports for an External Body

What data is collected for NTROs?

We are collecting data describing the research output, which is called metadata. The type of data provided will vary according to the type of output, but will include statements regarding research background, research contribution and research significance. We are also collecting outputs/evidence.

Can I enter 2016 publications too?

You can enter and lodge outputs from 2015 onwards, for future ERA submissions. The next ERA is in 2018, so it will measure 2011 – 2016 outputs and data.

Some reports are not allowed to be shared without permission of the body who commissioned them.
Is it a requirement that the report is in the public domain to be counted in the AWPS?

Non-traditional research outputs that are sensitive in nature will not be excluded from consideration in the AWPS (even if they are not in the public domain). You must submit the output/report to be lodged in the repository as a restricted document for it to be assessed for the AWPS. Contact if you have any questions about the submission of the report.

How do I provide evidence for a non-text based work?

We will need to record your non-text based work in the most appropriate form possible. This might be a recording of a dance, scan of an exhibition catalogue, photo of a sculpture, or a combination of several types.

What do I do with my actual output/evidence?

You will need to provide the Library with the evidence, so that it can support your submission. We can collect this from you e.g. on a USB, or you can drop it in at your Campus Library.

What happens if I use a URL to refer to my evidence, but the website later moves or disappears?

Library staff will secure an archived copy of the URL which can be kept in perpetuity.

If my evidence is a DVD, will the Library convert to digital format?

Yes, the Library will convert the DVD or CD to a digital format which can be stored and accessed.

Why does an "author" prompt appear for a visual work when there is no author?

"Author" is used for "creator" or someone with prime relationship to the work.

Can I add a co-author to the record I am creating?

Yes. Adding a co-author can be done as the original record is being created. The other authors can then claim the work for themselves.

What do I need to know about Research Statements?

Research Statements are required for all NTROs except Research Reports for an External Body. Please refer to the Research Statement Guide in My Publications. Contact Professor Sue Martin APVCR at if you need additional details.

What happens if I am on leave?

You can delegate My Publications account access to other College staff to deposit on your behalf. Alternatively you can contact the Library to have the staff log in to do this for you, but you must remember that they can only work with the research publication descriptions which you provide them with.