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8111.0 - Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations, Australia, 2012 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/05/2014   
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QUALITY DECLARATION - SUMMARY

INSTITUTIONAL ENVIRONMENT


Statistics presented in this release have been compiled from data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) from higher education institutions in the Survey of Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations. The data were collected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

For information about the institutional environment of the ABS, including its legislative obligations, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


RELEVANCE


This release presents statistics on R&D undertaken by Australian higher education institutions in respect of the calendar year ended 31 December 2012.

R&D statistics produced by the ABS enable the nature and distribution of R&D activity in Australia to be monitored and analysed for policy formulation, allocation of funds and determination of research priorities. The major users of R&D data are Commonwealth and State government organisations: mainly the Department of Industry and the Department of Education. R&D data are also used extensively by the Productivity Commission and for international comparison purposes.

Since the release of the 2008-09 Australian System of National Accounts, R&D has been treated as capital formation. This resulted from the implementation of the new international standards System of National Accounts, 2008 (2008 SNA) and represents a change in treatment of R&D (as intermediate consumption) from SNA 1993.


TIMELINESS


Data are collected from higher education institutions in the Survey of Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations on a biennial basis (even years), with the reference year being the calendar year (i.e. year ended 31 December). Statistics compiled from the data collected are released approximately 17 months after the reference period.


ACCURACY

The ABS aims to produce high quality data from its research and experimental development collections, while minimising the reporting burden on higher education institutions. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into survey and questionnaire design, collection procedures and processing.

The Survey of Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations is a census of in-scope institutions (refer to the Scope and Coverage section of the Explanatory Notes).

As the survey is a census, the survey estimates are not subject to sampling error. However, other inaccuracies, collectively referred to as non-sampling errors, may affect the data. When interpreting the statistics in this release, the reliability and comparability of the estimates may be affected by the following specific non-sampling errors:
  • Many institutions provided estimates due to a lack of separately recorded data on R&D activity.
  • Data were self-classified by institutions to fields of research (FOR), socio-economic objective (SEO) and type of activity at the time of reporting. Some institutions may have experienced difficulty in classifying their R&D projects. The ABS makes every effort to ensure correct and consistent interpretation and reporting of these data by applying consistent processing methodologies.
  • The estimation method for R&D related overhead costs varied across institutions (See Explanatory Notes 12 and 13) and reference periods.
Revisions to previous cycle data occur on discovery of errors in the data. Revisions are only applied, where the impact on:
  • R&D expenditure is equal to $5 million or more; or
  • Human resources devoted to R&D is equal to 25 person years of effort or more.
Where new information was identified, revisions were applied to 2010 estimates. Revisions must be taken into consideration when interpreting results, particularly when comparing estimates over time. Users are advised to refer to the most recently released data cubes (which can be found on the Downloads page of this release).


COHERENCE


There are no other data sources with which ABS higher education R&D data can be directly compared. However, some observations can be made which suggest the survey outputs give a reasonable indication of real world expectations and events. For example, trends in data aligning with expectations due to changes in the availability of research funds to universities.

While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data, its relevance to the changing needs of users and the efficiency of the collection.

In addition to non-sampling errors and revisions, factors which may affect the comparability of 2012 estimates with those of previous cycles are described below:
  • Improved record keeping by higher education institutions in 2012.
  • From the 2008 cycle, type of activity, fields of research and socio-economic data have been collected and compiled based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008 (cat. no. 1297.0). Prior to this, data were based on the Australian Standard Research Classification (ASRC). The implementation of updated classifications in the 2000 and 2008 reference periods represent breaks in the relevant time series.

INTERPRETABILITY


R&D as collected by the ABS is defined in accordance with the OECD standard as 'creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications'.

The ABS Survey of Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations also uses classifications specific to R&D: results presented in this release are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008 (cat. no. 1297.0).

Data providers report and self-classify R&D survey information based on their interpretation of OECD and ABS definitions and classifications. The ABS makes every effort to ensure correct and consistent interpretation and reporting of these data by applying consistent processing methodologies. See the Non-Sampling Error and Revisions sections of the Technical Note for further information.

Further important contextual information, to be considered when interpreting the results presented in this release, is provided in the Explanatory Notes (including the Technical Note and Glossary).

Additionally, for a more comprehensive interpretation of the definitions and classifications relating to R&D activity, refer to:
ACCESSIBILITY


All available data from the Survey of Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations, are released in web-based information and commentary, and data cubes on the ABS website. See the Downloads page for this issue.

Links to other data releases relating to the ABS Survey of Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations can be found on the ABS website, via the Innovation, Science and Technology theme page under Topics @ a Glance/Industry.

If the information you require is not available as a standard product, inquiries can be made by contacting the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Amanda Baile on (08) 9360 5357.

The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to us.

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