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8109.0 - Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, Australia, 2012-13 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/07/2014   
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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 Australian government and private non-profit organisations in the Survey of Research and Experimental Development (R&D), Government and Private Non-Profit 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 government and private non-profit organisations in respect of the 2012-13 financial year.

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, the Department of Education and the Department of Employment. 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 government and private non-profit organisations in the Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations on a biennial basis, with the reference year being the financial year (i.e. year ended 30 June). Statistics compiled from the data collected are released approximately 12 months after the reference period.

The survey was deferred for a year in 2010-11 and conducted consecutively for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 financial years. The frequency of the Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations will return to biennial following this 2012-13 cycle. The next survey will be conducted for the 2014-15 financial year.

ACCURACY

The Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations is a census of in-scope organisations (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 organisations provided estimates due to a lack of separately recorded data on R&D activity. This was most prevalent for government organisations without a specific research focus.
  • Data were self-classified by institutions to type of activity, fields of research and socio-economic objective at the time of reporting. Some organisations 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 organisations and reference periods.

Every effort is made to minimise non-sampling error by careful design and testing of the collection instrument, the use of efficient operating procedures and systems, and the use of appropriate methodologies.

Revisions to previous cycle data occur on discovery of errors in reported data, or to include newly identified R&D performers with significant levels of R&D in earlier years. 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 2011-12 estimates. Revisions must be taken into consideration when interpreting results, particularly when comparing estimates over time.

While every effort is made to ensure that all in-scope organisations are included in the survey, complete coverage cannot be guaranteed. The 2012-13 Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations achieved a response rate of 99.7%.

COHERENCE

There are no other data sources with which ABS R&D data for the government and private non-profit sectors 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 are expected to broadly reflect changes in budget allocations as well as government policy relating to R&D funding, particularly for research based organisations.

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, another factor which may affect the comparability of 2012-13 estimates with those of previous cycles is described below:
  • From the 2008-09 cycle, type of activity, fields of research and socio-economic objective 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, these data were based on the Australian Standard Research Classification (ASRC), 1998. The implementation of updated classifications in the 2000-01 and 2008-09 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 Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit 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 R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit 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 Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit 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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