8101.0 - Innovation and Technology Update, Dec 2014  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2015  Final
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Review of Australian Information and Communications Technology Statistics

A review of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Statistics commenced in January 2015 and is being conducted jointly by the ABS and the Department of Communications with involvement from the Department of Industry and Science and the Department of Finance.

The purpose of the review is to consider all aspects of ICT statistics and their current capacity to inform decision-making. The review is expected to identify the essential information needs, suggest opportunities to enhance Australian ICT statistics and review the framework for assessment of the digital economy in Australia. Specifically, the ICT statistics review will:

  • identify priority information needs for ICT statistics;
  • identify gaps and examine options for improving the quality (in particular, the timeliness and relevance) of data available to decision-makers in the digital economy;
  • investigate the scope for non-traditional inputs and collection processes, including the possibility for automated data collections instead of surveys; and
  • review the framework for measuring ICT and its contribution to social well-being and the economy.

It is proposed that the ICT Statistics Review will also consider and provide feedback on the definitions used for key terms and will encompass discussion on digital technology’s impact on both the economy and social well-being.

The ICT Statistics Review invites open submissions from those with interests in the field, including key stakeholders across Federal and State government, industry, community and academia (Discussion Paper). The ICT review is expected to be completed by the end of June 2015.

Reviewing innovation content for 2014-15 Business Characteristics Survey (BCS)
    The BCS is the ABS collection vehicle for production of Innovation in Australian Business statistics. Core innovation statistics are produced from the BCS annually with more detailed statistics about innovation practices released biennially. The next detailed collection is due to take place for the 2014-15 reference year.
      As part of ensuring that the statistics produced by the BCS reflect contemporary needs, the biennial innovation module is currently under review. Australian innovation statistics are based on the framework included in the Oslo Manual: Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data (Third Edition, 2005). The ABS is now in the process of developing recommendations for potential new questions to measure the frequency, costs and impacts of innovation in Australian businesses which could be included in the 2014-15 innovation module.

      It should be noted that as resources available for the BCS are fixed and there is requirement for the ABS to minimise or reduce provider load, new questions cannot be added without the removal or amendment of existing content. Final content for the BCS will take into consideration the development work as well as the priority information needs of key stakeholders.

      For the 2014-15 reference period, the BCS survey will be in the field from October 2015 to March 2016, with results published progressively from June 2016.
        Statistics for Growth Centres from the 2013-14 Business Characteristics Survey (BCS)
          The Department of Industry and Science has funded additional sample in the 2013-14 Business Characteristics Survey to produce a range of statistics on the five growth centres included in the Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, which was released in October 2014. Additional statistics (directly collected through the BCS and sourced from administrative data available to the ABS) will be released for the five growth centres:
          • food and agribusiness;
          • mining equipment, technology and services;
          • oil, gas and energy resources;
          • medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; and
          • advanced manufacturing.

          Outputs from the growth centres component of the BCS will be released from June 2015.

          For the 2012-13 BCS the Department of Industry and Science funded a small additional sample to produce statistics on innovation in the medical devices industry. These statistics were published as an Appendix to Innovation in Australian Business, 2012-13 (cat. no. 8158.0) released in August 2014.

          National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2014 (NATSISS)

          The 2014 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) will be the third in a series of regular 6 yearly social surveys of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Enumeration is ongoing through to March 2015.

          From an innovation and technology subject perspective, the NATSISS is collecting data on whether a person:
          • used the Internet;
          • whether it was accessed and frequency accessed from home;
          • places outside the home where Internet was accessed using supplied equipment; and
          • types of government services accessed via the Internet for private purposes.

          The NATSISS is part of an established program of Indigenous statistics collected by ABS to monitor the social wellbeing of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It was established in 1994 as the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSIS). In 2002, the NATSIS was divided into the NATSISS and the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS), which are conducted on a six yearly basis, alternating every three years. Although the NATSISS and NATSIHS focus in different areas, both contain some overlapping content allowing this data to be reported every 3 years.

          NATSISS topic domains cover all social subject matter areas, and the survey provides key information on a range of socio economic indicators for Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is relied on to provide indicators of progress in a range of high level reporting on Closing the Gap initiatives.

          OECD Measuring the Digital Economy - A New Perspective

          The growing role of the digital economy in daily life has heightened demand for new data and measurement tools. Internationally comparable and timely statistics combined with robust cross-country analyses are crucial to strengthen the evidence base for digital economy policy making, particularly in a context of rapid change. In December 2014, the OECD Measuring the Digital Economy - A New Perspective was released. This publication presents indicators traditionally used to monitor the information society and complements them with experimental indicators that provide insight into areas of policy interest. The key objectives of this publication are to highlight measurement gaps and propose actions to advance the measurement agenda.

          OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014

          The latest issue of the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook was released in November 2014. This release reviews key trends in science, technology and innovation (STI) policies, and performance in more than 45 economies, including OECD countries and major emerging economies. The report draws on the latest OECD work on science and innovation policy analysis and measurement.

          This release is published in alternative years to the OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Scoreboard which is next due for release in the second half of 2015. The STI scoreboard shows how OECD and partner economies are performing in a wide range of areas to help governments design more effective and efficient policies and monitor progress towards their desired goals.