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Best paper Award

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The ANZPAA NIFS Best Paper Awards recognise the literary contribution of authors from the Australian and New Zealand forensic science community. The Awards promote scientific research and encourage the sharing of learnings within the forensic and broader communities.

A sub-committee of the ANZPAA NIFS Australia New Zealand Forensic Executive Committee (ANZFEC) judges submissions using the assessment criteria outlined for each Award category.

ANZPAA NIFS updated the Award categories, assessment criteria and entry requirements following an ANZFEC Best Paper Award review in February 2022 to streamline judging and better recognise research across forensic science disciplines.

Under the changes, the Judging Committee can give an overall award for each category and agree to sub-categories to recognise significant research across various disciplines, replacing the practice of allocating highly commended awards.

After many years of successfully promoting research by police officers, the Henry Delaforce Award will be retired as the introduction of discipline sub-categories, such as crime scene, continues to encourage submissions from police officers.

The former categories of Best Case Study and Best Technical Article or Note have merged. 

Entry Conditions

  • The lead (first) author of the paper must submit the entry.
  • The lead author may only submit one entry per category.
  • The lead author must be from Australia or New Zealand.
  • At least one author must be a current forensic practitioner working in an Australian or New Zealand police or government agency or crown institute.
  • The lead author agrees that the Award judging committee may reallocate entries across categories or agree to allocate awards within a discipline sub-category.
  • Papers must be published or made available online as a corrected proof no more than 12 months before the entry closure date, midnight (AEST), 31 August, each year.
  • The lead author must send a completed ANZPAA NIFS Best Paper Awards - Application Form and an electronic copy of the award entry to secretariat.nifs@anzpaa.org.au

Award Categories

Award categories can change from year to year. The following section describes this year’s categories and assessment criteria.

The Award judging committee may agree to also give awards within discipline sub-categories, which can also include sub-categories of management and quality.

Best Paper: Forensic Fundamentals

This award recognises authors who publish scientific studies that underpin forensic disciplines. Papers entered in this category should fill an empirical evidence gap for a current forensic technique or capability

  • Subject of the research is well-defined, and relates to a fundamental component of a discipline and an issue(s) of importance in the relevant discipline.
  • Experimental design is effective in addressing the research aims. For example, the sample size is sufficient to draw general conclusions about the population being studied.
  • Conclusions are appropriate given the aim of the research and the available experimental data.
  • Research study assumptions and limitations are articulated.
  • The paper effectively communicates the research and outcomes in a clear, logical flow.
  • The international standing of the journal is sufficient to disseminate the information in the paper to a relevant audience.

Please refer to the Empirical Study Design in Forensic Science – A Guideline to Forensic Fundamentals for additional information on how the panel assess empirical study designs.

Best Paper: Capability Enhancement and Innovation

This award recognises authors who publish scientific studies that support the continuous improvement of the forensic sciences. Papers entered in this category should be empirical studies on a new or emerging forensic capability or innovation.

Assessment Criteria

  • Subject of the research is well-defined, and relates to a new discipline capability and issue(s) of importance in the relevant discipline.
  • Experimental design is effective in addressing the research aims. For example, the sample size is sufficient to draw general conclusions about the population being studied.
  • Conclusions are appropriate given the aim of the research and the available experimental data.
  • Research study assumptions and limitations are articulated.
  • The paper effectively communicates the research and outcomes in a clear, logical flow.
  • The international standing of the journal is sufficient to disseminate the information in the paper to a relevant audience.

Please refer to the Empirical Study Design in Forensic Science – A Guideline to Forensic Fundamentals for additional information on how the panel assess empirical study designs.

Best Technical Article, Note or Case Study

This award aims to encourage practitioners to circulate case or technical information within their discipline groups and to the wider community

A technical note is a short article giving a brief description of a specific technique/procedure or an improvement to an existing technique/procedure. The technical note should be brief and have a technical focus. The technique or procedure should have current or future operational impact.

A case study may discuss a single or a small group of cases.

Papers in this category should be published in a relevant journal, the ANZPAA NIFS Newsletter (The Forensic Exhibit), SAG newsletters or equivalent.

Assessment Criteria

  • Subject of the research/study should have practical value, is well-defined and relates to issue(s) of importance in the relevant discipline.
  • The issue or problem being addressed is well articulated.
  • Experimental design is relevant and effective in addressing the aims of the research (where applicable).
  • Methodology is rigorous and scientifically valid.
  • Conclusions are appropriate to experimental data/case and issue being addressed. 
  • Recommendations (if appropriate) consider the application of the technique in an operational context.
  • Research study assumptions and limitations are articulated.
  • The paper effectively communicates the research outcomes or case study in a clear, logical flow.
  • Outcomes of the research/study contribute to the general knowledge in the field.
  • Diagrams and/or pictures are used appropriately to aid effective communication.
 

Best Literature Review

This award recognises those who have collated information regarding a topic or discipline. The review should accurately reflect the current body of literature available on a topic of forensic significance. The review should be published in a relevant journal, newsletter, as part of a thesis or equivalent.

Assessment Criteria

  • Subject of the research is well-defined and relates to issue(s) of importance in the relevant discipline.
  • Breadth of the literature review is reflective of the collective research on the subject.
  • The paper effectively communicates the research and outcomes in a clear, logical flow.
 

Best New Publisher in a Refereed Journal

This award aims to encourage new researchers to publish research they have undertaken. The award focuses on first time publishers from police, government or crown research agencies, whether they are new practitioners, or have been in the industry for some time and are new to publishing. The submitted article should be the first paper the practitioner has published as a lead author.

Assessment Criteria

  • Subject of the research is well-defined and relates to issue(s) of importance in the relevant discipline.
  • Experimental design is relevant and effective in addressing the aims of the research. For example, the sample size is sufficient to allow results to be generalised to the population.
  • Conclusions are appropriate to experimental data and issue being addressed.
  • Research study assumptions and limitations are articulated.
  • The paper effectively communicates the research and outcomes in a clear, logical flow.

Please refer to the Empirical Study Design in Forensic Science – A Guideline to Forensic Fundamentals for additional information on how the panel assess empirical study designs.

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