A quick Q&A with Dr Campbell Fraser

Dr Campbell Fraser

Griffith University, Department of International Business and Asian Studies, Senior Lecturer, Dr Campbell Fraser discusses his career, research tips and organ trafficking.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
At the age of 4, growing up in Glasgow, Scotland, I wanted to be a “bin man”, what would now be known as a refuse collector. The reason – the Glasgow “bin men” drove around in big blue trucks. I befriended my local bin men and they used to take me with them on their rounds – so every Thursday I got to ride in the big blue truck. Would never be allowed now!

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
My first job was as a sausage maker. I worked with some really interesting characters in that job –  a real education!  From there I went into banking, before going on to uni full time.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
The BBC news– that is where I first go to in the morning when I wake up, Gmail app, and Washington Post – I am now an avid follower of US politics since the 2016 election result.

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
I’d love to see what great leaders of the past would make of today’s politicians. So I would have Winston Churchill, Robert Menzies and Mahatma Gandhi on one side of the table, with Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte on the other. Now that would make an interesting dinner party!

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
Simon Templar – AKA “The Saint”, by Leslie Charteris. A great series of adventure novels adapted for TV in the 1960s. Escapism at its best.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
Without a doubt, it is the people I get to meet.  By investigating organ trafficking, I have the privilege to work with some amazing people – people who save lives day in, day out. Often working on a shoestring budget in some of the poorest and dangerous areas of the world; these are truly remarkable people.

7. What sparked your interest in human/organ trafficking?
A few years ago, I had kidney failure and spent a year on dialysis before I received the ultimate gift of a donor kidney. I met a number of people involved in the international organ trade at this time, and as they say, one thing led to another…

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would be very happy if I am still able to do exactly what is I am doing now.  My colleagues and I have made major progress in the fight against human trafficking, but much work remains to be done.

9. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
This year, I was invited by the Pope to the Vatican to present my work, and this has led to several invitations to speak around the world. While these are certainly highlights, the biggest highlight has been knowing that we are making a difference in the lives of some of the poorest people on our planet.  That is more important than anything else.

10. Tell us about your current research.
I’m currently investigating the links between organ trafficking in the Middle East and terrorism funding. I am working in collaboration with colleagues from the US government in Washington DC. This is taking my work in a whole new direction.

11. What wise advice do you have for new researchers?
Follow your nose and see where it leads you. Try to find a topic that is poorly understood, and that will maximise your scope. Never give up. If your research topic is important to you, then it is important, regardless of what others may tell you.

12. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
Online journal access has fundamentally changed the way academics work. I can now be in a village in the Philippines and access the Griffith Library by VPN on my device. This is a huge timesaver. Griffith Library has online access to a vast number of journals relevant to my work, and I wouldn’t be able to function without it.

13. Can you give us your 3 best research tips

  • Be very cautious of information you find online – I would say probably 75% of reports of organ trafficking found online is false, and is written to promote political objectives. I always make sure I meet the people involved so I can obtain the information at the source. Understand the difference between truths, and reports which are based on a true story!
  • Remain courteous and professional when conducting investigations. On occasions, I have had to interview people-traffickers and their brokers, and no matter how much disgust I have for them, I have to keep a professional demeanour.  Always take the high road, you never know when you might need someone’s help in the future. You want to show Griffith University in a good light!
  • Always think of ways to increase your audience. The media is a great way to bring your research findings to a wider range of people who don’t read academic journals. Think about what would make a great story – and learn how to pitch it to journalists. This will increase the impact of your research, and get you noticed. Journalists are always on the lookout for exciting stories that their readers are likely to click on!

What can you do in June to become a better researcher?


You can attend our series of Higher Degree Research (HDR) Workshops. They are targeted to support you through all stages of the research lifecycle.

All staff and students are welcome to attend these workshops but preference will be given to HDR candidates. Once you have registered you will receive an email confirmation, please select add to calendar.

Study Week (29 May – 2 June)

Date Time Workshop Location Campus
1/6 10:00am Copyright, plagiarism and publishing integrity G10 2.25 Gold Coast
2/6 1:00pm Track, measure and demonstrate impact G10 2.09 Gold Coast


Exam Week 1 (5 June – 9 June)

Date Time Workshop Location Campus
7/6 10:00am Endnote G10 2.04 Gold Coast


 Student Vacation (19 June – 23 June)

Date Time Workshop Location Campus
21/6 10:00am Endnote N53 1.49 Nathan

How to measure scholarly impact with a donut

You already log in when you search the library catalogue on campus, but from Wednesday 21 June you’ll also need to log in when you search off-campus.

Why? Because we have some cool new features that only Griffith folk can see. Donuts. That’s right, our library catalogue now displays an Altmetric donut to highlight the impact and popularity of publications.

Hover over the donut to explore online shares, comments and discussion relating to publications.

Altmetric tracks:

  • influence on or use in public policy documents
  • mentions in news articles, blogs and YouTube
  • online reference managers such as Mendeley
  • social media shares, likes and engagement on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • citations in Wikipedia
  • and more.

Altmetric begins collating the online mentions and shares of your research as soon as it’s published. So you can get timely feedback on impact and engagement long before any citation data becomes available.

We also display traditional metrics including citation counts from Web of Science and Scopus.

You can use these features to measure the scholarly research impact of your own publications, follow a trail of research forward in time, or to identify seminal works.

For more tips on measuring scholarly impact, check out Module 11 of our Postgraduate Research Information Skills Modules. Read the rest of this entry »

eResearch wins first and second place in Auckland

Auckland, New Zealand

Congratulations to our eResearch Services team who won first and second place at The Higher Education Technology Agenda (THETA) conference in Auckland recently.

Media Production Team Leader, Eva Czaran and Director, Malcolm Wolski took out first place for ‘Best Paper’ for their paper, Media Content in Research Data Management Plans.

The paper focuses on the work, and subsequent review, of a new service offered by the Media Production team.  It has been designed to encourage researchers to tell their research stories in a visual format.

Second place went to Griffith Criminology Institute Professor Mark Finnane and Business Analyst, Michael McGuinness for their paper on Enabling Better Data Discovery of Records Across Archives, Institutions and Libraries.

In their presentation, and accompanying paper, they discussed how the Prosecution Project and Griffith University are working collaboratively with archival institutions such as the Queensland State Archives and the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office to enable better access to archival data.

THETA is a high-level forward-looking conference, held every two years, with the aim of advancing higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.

According to one of our presenters, Michael McGuinness, THETA is ‘a way to learn about technical changes and advancements with IT.’

Michael thoroughly enjoyed the conference and found the range of topics really diverse.

‘I got a lot of value out of the Tips and Tricks for Speakers run by Maggie Eyre. Maggie spoke in great detail about how to tell stories to make for a more memorable presentation,’ he said.

It was also a good opportunity to network. The conference ‘was a great way to see what’s new and connect with other colleagues at different uni’s and see what they are up to’.

‘I really enjoyed the networking events, with the gala dinner being the best of these for me. You could not get me off the dance floor!’ said Michael.

Check out the eResearch Services web page to find out how they can help you.

What can you do in May to become a better researcher?


You can attend our series of Higher Degree Research (HDR) Workshops. They are targeted to support you through all stages of the research lifecycle.

All staff and students are welcome to attend these workshops but preference will be given to HDR candidates. Once you have registered you will receive an email confirmation, please select add to calendar.

Week 9 (1 May – 5 May)

Date Time Workshop Location Campus
Wed 3/5 10:00am Build and leverage your research profile G10 2.09 Gold Coast
Thu 4/5 9:30am Online research survey tool N53 1.50 Nathan
Fri 5/5 10:00am Academic writing expectations at the HDR level G10 2.25 Gold Coast


Week 10 (8 May – 12 May)

Date Time Workshop Location Campus
Mon 8/5 10:00am Copyright, plagiarism and publishing integrity G10 2.25 Gold Coast
Wed 10/5 10:00am Managing information resources and writing your literature review N53 1.51 Nathan
Fri 12/5 1:00pm Managing your research data G10 2.09 Gold Coast


Week 11 (15 May – 19 May)

Date Time Workshop Location Campus
Mon 15/5 10:00am EndNote G10 2.09 Gold Coast
Tue 16/5 9:30am Online research survey tool G10 2.04 Gold Coast
Wed 17/5 10:00am Developing your academic argument G10 2.25 Gold Coast
Thu 18/5 1:00pm Managing your research data N53 1.49 Nathan


Week 12 (22 May – 26 May)

Date Time Workshop Location Campus
Mon 22/5 10:00am Editing your writing N53 1.51 Nathan
Tue 23/5 1:00pm Strategic publishing G10 2.09 Gold Coast
Wed 24/5 10:00am EndNote N53 1.50 Nathan
Fri 26/5 10:00am Improving writing quality before submission S07 2.18 South Bank


Study Week (29 May – 2 June)

Date Time Workshop Location Campus
Mon 29/5 10:00am Improving writing quality before submission G10 2.25 Gold Coast
Wed 31/5 10:00am Strategic publishing N53 1.49 Nathan

What’s new with Griffith Research Online?

Have you had a look at the newly redeveloped Griffith Research Online (GRO)? It’s now live with an up-to-date interface, improved searching and discoverability, and more statistics about usage.

For those of you who haven’t heard about Griffith Research Online, it’s a digital repository with over 15,000 full-text Griffith research outputs.

With free online full-text versions of journal articles, conference papers and more, GRO increases the impact and influence of Griffith research and scholarship by ensuring it is visible, discoverable and accessible.

Publications held in our digital repository can be found via search engines like Google and discovery services like Trove.

And what happens when people discover the quality publications on offer in GRO? They download them, of course. Over 10 million full-text publications have been downloaded since 2007.

Have questions? Head to the Griffith Research Online FAQs page.

A quick Q&A with Dr Michael Westaway

Dr Michael Westaway

Dr Michael Westaway

Griffith University, Environmental Futures Research Institute, Research Fellow, Dr Michael Westaway discusses his career, research tips, and skeletal remains.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I can remember going to a careers and university planning day in Year 11 and bringing home a brochure on studying archaeology and palaeoanthropology at UNE. I hadn’t heard of the discipline of palaeoanthropology until that stage. From Year 11, I started to think archaeology might be a career I could try and pursue.

2. Tell us about a previous job that you’ve had.

My first really exciting job was working as a state project archaeologist for Aboriginal Affairs Victoria (AAV). I had never lived in Melbourne before and was paired up with a senior project archaeologist and our job was to develop a list of 50 key sites, as nominated by Aboriginal communities, that would be the subject of further investigation and management.

As I had also studied biological anthropology, I was given the role at AAV to investigate reports of Aboriginal skeletal remains, and I liaised very closely with the Coroners Department during this work. Quite often the skeletal remains that were reported were non-human, but we undertook a lot of really interesting rescue investigations of Aboriginal skeletal remains.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?

Very boring I’m afraid, mobile banking, the tide times and the Brisbane airport app are really the ones I use most. I wish I could say the Australian native bird identification app or something interesting like that, but I guess the tide times is the best one. I use it when I am heading to the sea for a swim (which I tried, reasonably successfully, to do every weekend this past summer).

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

I’m not terribly inspired by modern celebrities, although I do like the way the philosopher Alain de Botton looks at life and relationships, so he is one (probably not technically a celebrity).

Barack Obama would be a great dinner guest but perhaps Angela Merkel would be better, she seems to be the most inspiring world leader at the moment. I am afraid the remainder are no longer alive, Thomas Huxley and Raymond Dart are people I’d like to chat to about their contributions to knowledge in evolution.

David Unaipon is another person (the man on the $50 note) who would be great to have a conversation with over dinner. He was such an inquisitive and intelligent individual, and from what I have read so far was the first Aboriginal person to consider scientific views of human origins at the time in the context of Aboriginal creation stories. He rallied enormous support from many Australians for Aboriginal human rights.

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.

I am a fan of the narrator in HG Wells’ War of the Worlds (not the Tom Cruise version, but the original seen through the eyes of the late 19th Century newspaper journalist whose name we never get to know).

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?

What is really exciting is the sense of discovery, whether it be going through museum collections and archives to find some piece of evidence that may lead to something far bigger, or investigating a remote landscape that might reveal an important new chapter into the past. The combination of research and fieldwork I find quite intoxicating, and it is really hard to curb my enthusiasm when in the midst of trying to make sense of something that doesn’t seem to fit into the current scheme of things. I undertake this type of fieldwork with students, and very importantly Traditional Owners, and I find it so inspiring when we all work together to try and make sense of Australia’s amazing Aboriginal past.

7. What sparked your interest in archaeology?

When I was a first-year student I had some inspiring and indeed life changing lecturers. The teaching staff inspired an interest in the archaeology of ancient Australia, placing its significance in the global context, and what I think certainly made the difference was the willingness and patience of the Head of School, Professor Isabelle McBryde, to take the time and discuss with me as a young first year student an exciting discovery of a shell midden I had made over the Easter Break.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to be continuing my role as a researcher at Griffith and teaching into a Master of Science program that is helping to building a new understanding of human evolution in our region, but very importantly also creating new insights into the complexity of Australia’s Aboriginal past. Critical to the success of this program will be the chance to provide training opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, so that they can ultimately be the drivers of this new national narrative.

9. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

Moving to Griffith University has been the highlight, without a doubt. I was approached by Professor David Lambert who had read some of my work on the fossil human remains from the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area. He asked whether I thought the Elders from the three Tribal Groups at the Willandra would be interested in seeing if we could recover ancient DNA from their ancestors and I suggested we go and ask them. They were very interested, and Dave, his postdocs and PhD students and I have been busy writing a new population history of ancient Australia ever since.

10. Tell us about your research into the skeletal remains of first-nation people.

Since the late 1990s, I have been involved in investigating skeletal remains of Aboriginal people, initially as a state archaeologists working with Aboriginal communities and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, but then as a biological anthropologist employed in the repatriation program at the National Museum of Australia.

11. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?

Definitely the books, much of the time they contain all kinds of important information. It is always a great relief to find that all our wisdom is not contained on the internet. I am a regular user of our library, the State Library (and particularly the John Oxley library) and also the Queensland Museum library. These institutions are very important, particularly for Queensland-based research into Aboriginal archaeology and culture.

12. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?

  • Universities have an increasingly important role to play in our society, and I think in the disciplinary areas that I work in, which straddles science and the humanities, it is very important to promote our research to a broader audience. Our scholarship is funded by taxpayers, and I feel very strongly that we should provide people with information that might help them make more informed decisions regarding the complex society we live in.
  • Communication is critical at all levels of research, and I have just finished rattling on about communication with the public and this, of course, should extend to all the stakeholders one works with. I think to take it to that next level, it is always good to try and undertake research in partnership with key stakeholders. In my research, I work very closely with Koori and Murri people, and together with my colleagues we always try to present and publish our research together.
  • I think it is important to appreciate and respect that your conclusions might not really be conclusions. Research is more to do with hypothesis testing, and on occasion, some researchers become so heavily wedded to their line of argument that they see any potential challenge to it is a threat to their reputation (in some cases perhaps it can be). I think the important thing is to recognise that new data can always emerge that may challenge your ideas, and perhaps if you are open-minded enough, maybe even change them!