8111.0 - Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations, Australia, 2014 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/05/2016   
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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 (R&D), 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.


This release presents statistics on R&D undertaken by Australian higher education institutions in respect of the calendar year ended 31 December 2014.

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.

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.


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 R&D, Higher Education Organisations is a census of in-scope institutions (refer to the Scope and Coverage section of the Explanatory Notes). The survey achieved a response rate of 100%.

For information about non-sampling errors, please refer to the Technical Note under the Explanatory Notes tab.


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, factors which may affect the comparability of 2014 estimates with those of previous cycles are described below:
  • Improved record keeping by higher education institutions in 2014.
  • 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.


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 R&D, 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 under the Explanatory Notes tab (including the Technical Note and Glossary).

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


In addition to main features (which include key findings commentary) resulting from the Survey of R&D, Higher Education Organisations, time series data (in spreadsheet format) are included on the ABS website free of charge. Refer to the Downloads tab for these data.

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.