Success in winning Australian Research Council grants as a measure of comparative professionalised disciplinary research activity

Kevin Clarke, Jack Flanagan, Sharron O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse the performance of accounting researchers in winning competitive Australian Research Council (ARC) grants, when compared with researchers from the medical, engineering and law professions, during a period of heightened questioning of accounting methods, bounded by the end of the boom in 2001 and the global financial crisis in 2008. Protection and expansion of a profession's core knowledge through effective research is regarded as a hallmark of ongoing professional recognition and success in winning ARC grants is one indicator of the strength of this research. Reasons for the absolute and relative performance of accounting researchers in winning ARC grants are explored. Design/methodology/approach – ARC statistics for the 2000-2008 period were analysed, along with additional data from the relevant professional associations and the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Findings – The results indicate that Australian accounting researchers are performing poorly in absolute and relative terms when compared with their professional peers. Some evidence exists that accounting research cultures seem to flourish in only a handful of universities, and that accounting academics are overloaded with teaching to the detriment of research. Originality/value – The study adds to the growing interest in the value added by accounting research to the accounting profession, the corporate sector and society at large. While the publishing record of Australian accounting researchers appears healthy, when compared with their accounting peers overseas, they perform poorly in winning competitive grants relative to researchers from other professions. This may be a timely wakeup call to the accounting profession that the social acceptance of accounting knowledge should not be taken for granted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-79
Number of pages29
JournalPacific Accounting Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Accountants
  • Accounting knowledge set
  • Professionalism
  • Professions
  • Research
  • Research grants


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