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Best paper Award

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The ANZPAA NIFS Best Paper Awards recognise the literary contribution of members of 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.

Please refer to the information below regarding each award. Descriptions for each category were updated in May 2021 to better reflect the intent for each award.

Entry Requirements

  • Lead authors must be from Australia or New Zealand
  • At least one author must be a current forensic practitioner working in a government laboratory in Australia or New Zealand
  • Papers must be available online as corrected proofs before the entry closure date and have a publication date less than 12 months before the entry closure date
  • Entries must be received by 31 August each year
  • To submit an entry, applicants 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

Best Paper: Forensic Fundamentals

This award recognises those who have contributed empirical studies on the science underpinning a forensic discipline. Papers entered in this category should fill a gap in empirical evidence 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 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 
  • Limitations of the results 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 the appropriate 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 those who have supported 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 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 
  • Limitations of the results 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 the appropriate 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 or Note

This award aims to encourage practitioners to circulate 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.

Assessment Criteria

  • Subject of the research should have practical value, is well-defined and relates to issue(s) of importance in the relevant discipline
  • Issue or problem being addressed is well articulated
  • 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
  • Methodology is rigorous and scientifically valid
  • Conclusions are appropriate to experimental data and issue being addressed 
  • Recommendations (if appropriate) consider the application of the technique in an operational context
  • Limitations of the results 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.

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 Case Study

This award aims to encourage members of the forensic community to share interesting case studies with the wider forensic community. The case study may discuss a single or a small group of cases. The case study should be published in a relevant journal, the ANZPAA NIFS Newsletter (The Forensic Exhibit), SAG newsletters or equivalent.

Assessment Criteria

  • The paper effectively communicates details of the case study in a clear logical flow
  • Diagrams and/or pictures are used appropriately to aid effective communication
  • Conclusions and lessons learnt are clearly articulated
  • The conclusions and lessons learnt are clearly articulated
  • Outcomes of the case study contribute to the general knowledge in the field

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 government laboratories, 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 
  • Limitations of the results 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.

The Henry Delaforce Award

ANZPAA NIFS established the Henry Delaforce Award to recognise police officers who contributed to developing a novel approach or new technique in forensic science that improved operational service delivery, assisted in resolving a case(s) or promoted the use of forensic science.

Detective Chief Superintendent Henry Delaforce retired from the New South Wales Police Service in 1996 after a career spanning more than 35 years. Henry introduced numerous technologies to forensic science and policing. He was a pivotal contributor to the Review of the Physical Evidence Services in 1991, known as the 'Gibson Report', which recommended developing and introducing a Diploma in Applied Science (Forensic Investigation) for crime scene examiners, an Australian International first. Henry received several commendations throughout his police service, including the prestigious Australian Police Medal in 1993. In recognition of his tremendous contribution to the forensic community ANZPAA NIFS established the Henry Delaforce Award, an award for the best paper by a police officer.

To qualify for this category, the lead author must be a serving Australian or New Zealand police officer.

Assessment Criteria

  • Issue or problem being addressed is well articulated
  • The paper effectively communicates details of the case/issue in a clear logical flow
  • Methodology is rigorous and based on sound scientific principles
  • The paper is informative and easily intelligible to the broader justice system reader
  • Outcomes, conclusions and/or lessons learnt are clearly articulated

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