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The purpose of this study was to achieve a better understanding of the boundaries of the aviation education discipline and academic composition as well as patterns of research output in tertiary aviation education in Australia and New Zealand. This study developed a framework to identify aviation academics in Australia and New Zealand and operationalized a definition for aviation research. Based on these boundaries, a database of aviation academics and associated peer-reviewed research publications over a 5-year period between 2017 and 2021. From the database, this study was able to identify staffing profiles of aviation academics as well as patterns of research output at different levels of seniority to include the ratio of research publications that were considered aviation and non-aviation. Additionally, based on the relevant research area represented by journals of publication, aviation research disciplines were inductively developed. The study found that research outputs increase across levels until Level E, at which publications drop sharply, and that non-aviation research output was present at all levels but notably higher at Level C and Level D. It also found a research output profile for each level for both aviation and non-aviation research that can support performance benchmarking. In addition, the study identified seven aviation research disciplines based on the research area of periodicals in which aviation research was published. Lastly, the study highlighted the significant challenge of distinguishing aviation research and identifying aviation academics as well as limitations for external quantifying aviation research performance.
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