8101.0 - Innovation and Technology Update (Newsletter), Dec 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/01/2003   
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On 28 August 2002, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released a Discussion Paper Measuring a Knowledge-based Economy and Society - An Australian Framework (Cat. no. 1375.0) in response to the needs of Australia’s policy makers to better understand the economic and social dynamics of knowledge-based activity. The paper is available free of charge on the ABS web site under the Science and Innovation theme page or under publication 1375.0 (www.abs.gov.au). The HTML version on the web site contains extensive information on data sources for the proposed indicators.

The ABS Discussion Paper presents a descriptive framework for measuring the knowledge-based economy and society (KBE/S) through use of relevant statistics. The framework proposes a range of indicators grouped in broad dimensions to enable assessment of the degree to which Australia is a knowledge-based economy and society. The dimensions are: context, innovation and entrepreneurship, human capital, information and communications technology, and economic and social impacts. Within each dimension there are identified a number of characteristics and possible statistical indicators of that characteristic (for example, within the "human capital" dimension, one characteristic is "stock of skilled people", one indicator for which might be "researchers as a proportion of the labour force"). The paper also identifies some of the more obvious data gaps and deficiencies.

The KBE/S framework covers the knowledge-based society because of the presumed importance of social factors to economic change and the potential impacts on society of an increasing emphasis on the importance of knowledge . The "digital divide" (between those who have and those who do not have computer or Internet access) is an example of an issue with both social and economic ramifications.

The next step in the project is to compile data as specified in the framework. The discussion paper raised several options for dissemination.

Comments are sought on the knowledge-based economy and society framework, the suggested indicators, and their mode of dissemination. Please send comments to Tricia O'Reilly at tricia.oreilly@abs.gov.au

Other Knowledge-based economy and society publications

A complementary compilation of relevant data has recently been published by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources (DITR), as Australia as a Modern Economy — Some Statistical Indicators, 2002. This publication presents much of the relevant data that is already publicly available, including comparisons with other countries and Australia’s past performance.

A summary and full text of Australia as a Modern Economy are available on the DITR web site at: http://www.industry.gov.au

A subset of these indicators in the form of an 'Innovation Scorecard' will be published by the DITR soon, as part of the government's annual report on innovation. Please visit the Innovation web site at http://www.innovation.gov.au