1375.0 - Discussion Paper: Measuring a Knowledge-based Economy and Society - An Australian Framework, 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/12/2003   
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Contents >> Chapter 6: Consultation and further work


The release of this Discussion Paper is intended to stimulate discussion and provoke feedback about the proposed KBE/S framework and statistical indicators. Readers are invited to provide comment on the theoretical or empirical basis of the framework, the dimensions and characteristics chosen, and the range of indicators outlined. Please note that the number of indicators in the proposed framework is deliberately large. It is unlikely that ABS would attempt to publish information in respect of all the indicators presented, therefore users are asked to suggest which indicators are the most important.

The gaps highlighted in the list of indicators are areas to be considered for further work. Developing statistics for entrepreneurship and innovation could be an initial approach to improving indicators for the KBE/S framework. However, users have also identified new statistics regarding knowledge in ICT, education and science as subjects to be considered. Suggestions regarding the subject matter priority of possible new statistics are encouraged.

Please provide comments to

Tricia O'Reilly, New Economy National Statistical Centre (email tricia.oreilly@abs.gov.au; phone 02 6252 7822; mail: Locked Bag 10, Belconnen ACT 2616).

Further releases on the framework

ABS will release an updated version of the framework following the consultation and feedback process.

Receiving updates

Readers who are interested in receiving information on ABS work in this field are invited to subscribe to the free Science and Technology Statistics Update. This newsletter is emailed twice a year and provides updates on many aspects of Science and Technology Statistics including the KBE/S project and statistics on: Information Technology Use & Production, Research & Experimental Development, Innovation and Biotechnology. If you would like to receive the Update please visit the ABS website and select Science and Innovation Theme Page.


This Web version of the paper contains links to information about each of the indicators shown in Chapter 5. The links include a range of information such as:

  • Organisation responsible for the collection (or publication)
  • Description of the collection or publication
  • Data details including classifications and output items
  • Collection or publication frequency and history
  • Geographic coverage.


There are a number of alternative dissemination options. The final dissemination strategy that is chosen may combine more than one of the components described below. For example, updates of indicators could be produced each quarter, six months or year, supplemented with occasional releases on particular aspects of the framework. The ABS would be interested in user views on possible approaches.

Compendium publications

One way to present measures of the KBE/S is in a compendium of statistical indicators. This approach has to date been attempted by the OECD as a whole (OECD 2001d) and by a small number of OECD countries, including the United Kingdom and the USA (Department of Trade and Industry 1999, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative 1999). Godin (1996) concluded that "if science and technology indicators were brought together in a single document, this would serve to give the indicators greater visibility and ensure better use was made of them by those concerned." A compendium could take many forms. For instance, it could be a smaller work consisting of a subset of indicators and little commentary or it could be a more significant body of work, with a larger set of indicators and accompanied by commentary and analysis, such as that produced by the Australian Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources (2002). The first approach has the advantage that it could be produced more frequently (possibly even quarterly) and would be relatively timely. The second approach would be less frequent and timely, but contain more information. Such a publication could be released by the ABS only occasionally, if at all.

Thematic publications

Separate publications could be produced for dimensions or sets of characteristics within the framework. This would allow a more extensive treatment of those components of the framework than a compendium approach. Given that such releases would not cover the whole framework, it is likely that this approach would be used in conjunction with a regular compendium release of some kind.

Means of release

Information may be released as hardcopy publications or as electronic releases on the ABS Website. There are advantages and disadvantages of each.


Measuring Australia's Progress

The ABS published the first edition of Measuring Australia's Progress (Cat. no. 1370.0) in April 2002 . Measuring Australia's Progress (MAP) presents a set of indicators depicting economic, social and environmental aspects of national progress (including the importance of knowledge and innovation to progress).

The first issue of MAP is described as 'experimental' and the ABS will be undertaking consultation with users on the publication. It is expected that MAP will be updated periodically. For more information, contact Jon Hall (Analysis Branch, email jon.hall@abs.gov.au).

ICT and firm level performance

The ABS is collaborating with the Productivity Commission and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources on a project to systematically analyse the relationship in Australia between the use of ICTs and performance at the firm level. The project is part of an international effort being coordinated by the OECD. A report from the OECD work is expected in early 2003. For further information, contact Graeme Brown (New Economy National Statistics Centre, emailgraeme.brown@abs.gov.au).

Science and technology statistics

The ABS makes available a range of data in the following areas:
  • research and experimental development - human resources and expenditure devoted to R&D;
  • human resources dedicated to science and technology;
  • information and communication technology: use and production; and,
  • innovation (1996-97 data).

For more information, contact Graeme Brown (New Economy National Statistics Centre, email (graeme.brown@abs.gov.au).

ICT satellite account

The ABS is currently scoping an ICT satellite account. Such an account would provide consistent monetary information on both the demand and supply of ICT within the context of a 'whole of economy' supply use framework. This would allow better measurement of the impact of ICT on the economy. For more information, contact Peter Comisari (National Accounts National Statistics Centre, email peter.comisari@abs.gov.au)

Social statistics frameworks

ABS released the first edition of Measuring Wellbeing: Frameworks for Australian Social Statistics (Cat. no. 4160.0) in October 2001. This publication presents a system of social statistics and discusses conceptual frameworks for each of the nine main areas of concern which comprise ABS social statistics.

Education and training statistics

An Information Paper Measuring learning in Australia: A framework for education and training statistics is due for release in September 2002. For more information, contact Jenny Dean (National Centre for Education and Training Statistics, email jenny.dean@abs.gov.au).

Education and Training Indicators, Australia (Cat. no. 4230.0) is a new publication due for release in late November 2002. It will present summary statistics and commentary covering the spectrum of education and training activities in Australia. A wide range of both ABS and non-ABS statistics are used, including data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research and the Department of Education, Science and Training, covering schools, higher education and vocational education and training. Many of the indicators listed under the human capital and context dimensions in this discussion paper will be included within the Education and Training Indicators publication. For more information, contact Kirsty Leslie (National Centre for Education and Training Statistics, email kirsty.leslie@abs.gov.au).

Social capital

ABS work on social capital includes:
  • understanding the key social issues and policy questions that might benefit from information on social capital;
  • assessing the suitability of current ABS and other data and survey collections for obtaining information on social capital;
  • identifying important information gaps on social capital;
  • developing a framework for social capital statistics; and
  • progressively developing indicators for the elements identified in the framework.

For more information, contact Joanne Hillermann (Family and Community Statistics Section, email joanne.hillermann@abs.gov.au).

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