ASEAN scholars share research and publication benchmarks in UC lecture series

December 11, 2011

Collaboration, integration, standardization, regional relevance are but a few of the emerging criteria brought to Southeast Asian researchers whose outputs, it has been suggested, should be established in consideration of the homogeneity and common aspirations of the Southeast Asian (SEA) peoples.

In universities, the creation of "research niches" should be determined so that it can focus its efforts towards sustaining this to give the university a "leading edge" in a particular field, according to Dr. Ari Warokka, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) visiting professor who spoke on "Niche Creation through Collaborative Research and Publication" in the Research and Publication Lecture Series sponsored by the University of the Cordilleras Center for Lifelong Professional Education and Languages (UC-CLPEL) and the UC Graduate School last November 29.

He said the university's "stakeholders" must be considered in niche creation since it should be "pragmatic enough to accept that it is impossible to excel in all fields." He explained that "excellence" must be equated with "niche sustainability" that aspires for research quality consistent with the recently established "global research benchmarking" especially since the ASEAN community has instituted a pan-economic, political security, and socio-cultural agenda for 2015 based on the 2009 Cha-am Hua Hin Declaration.

On the other hand, because research outputs are "intellectual property rights (IPR)," encouraging universities to undertake researches must be done with the assurance that the published researches, especially if these are also posted in the worldwide web, must be protected from plagiarism and copyright infringement.

There are only three countries in SEA with cyber laws: Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, according to Dr. Edy Santoso (Cyber Law on Intellectual Property Rights) visiting professor of the UUM's College of Law, Government and International Studies. He said this is the area of possible agreement between SEA neighbors because prosecution of cross border copyright and IPR infringements are still "complicated." So far, the mode of settlement is through "alternative dispute resolutions" but SEA countries are now coming to terms with this issue because of awareness of the incidence of "cybersquatting" or the unauthorized use of trademarks, and "typosquatting" or the unauthorized use of domain names.

The cost of undertaking research is also a major issue for some universities. While most researchers resort to applying for research grants, the experience of Universitas Negeri Jakarta (UNJ or "State University of Jakarta") has it that from a university that is dependent on state subsidy alone, it had become an "entrepreneurial university" able to generate its own funds to support its operations.

Prof. Widya Parimita (Towards Entrepreneurial Education: The Case of Universitas Negeri Jakarta), UNJ director of public relations said the university was able to undertake state-sanctioned entrepreneurial activities divided into "academic" and "non-academic areas." She said academic areas for entrepreneurship take the form of "publishing and printing books, research, community development and training." While revenues generated can also support research, the latter can also be an entrepreneurial activity through "research services," Prof. Parimita said. She said non-academic areas for entrepreneurship include guest house, conference room, theater, dormitory and office rentals. Resource and administration department head Ms. Rohana Binti Ahmad (Researches on Human Resources Optimization in Malaysia) of the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resource said the optimization of "human capital" is one field where SEA researchers can collaborate. Malaysia, she said, is one country where migrant workers are fully integrated into its labor force. Indonesian workers alone account for some 792,809 of Malaysia's labor force while it has 35,338 migrant Filipino workers.

While Malaysia has its own state policies towards "strengthening human capital," she suggests further research be undertaken on the movement of SEA workers because "the growth in the human capital sector is primarily driven by rapidly changing demographics, an increase in globalization, greater competition for talent and increased outsourcing."

The daylong lecture series done as part of UC's 65th school year initiative of sharing institutional resources, competencies and knowledge had university audiences from Benguet, Abra, Kalinga, Mountain Province, La Union, Pangasinan, Manila, Batangas, Angeles and Zambales. There were participants from the elementary and secondary schools as well as from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED-CAR) and the Department of Education (DepEd-CAR). Regional government agency participants included the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Participants say the presence of SEA lecturers presents an opportunity for Philippine universities to take a glimpse of the practices of universities from other SEA countries for purposes of benchmarking.

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