- Special article on IT & T imports and exports
- Release of business R&D data for 1999-00
- Releases of farm and household IT use data
- Release of June quarter 2001 ISP information
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Welcome to the 5th edition of the ABS' Science and Technology Statistics Update.
The Update is a free electronic newsletter which provides you with information on statistical developments and data releases in the science and technology field.
From now on, we plan to produce the Update twice a year, with releases around March/April and October/November each year.
We hope you find the Update useful and would appreciate any feedback you have to offer. Please send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUBSCRIBER E-MAILING LIST
We are happy to add new subscribers to the Update to our e-mailing list. If you did not receive this edition directly from us but would like to have future editions emailed to you, please contact: Patricia O'Reilly, whose email address is email@example.com.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STATISTICS INFORMATION ON THE ABS WEB SITE
We have two Science and Technology "theme" pages on the ABS web site. The theme pages provide links to the web version of the Update and will give you current information on statistical releases and contacts. They will also enable you to link up to other sites of interest. The theme pages can be found as follows:
- Go to the ABS web site: https://www.abs.gov.au
- Select Themes from the menu shown on the left side
- Select Information Technology or Science and Innovation theme pages.
If you have any questions about our theme pages, please contact Patricia O'Reilly, whose email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS (IT&T) STATISTICS
2.1 AD HOC TECHNICAL MEETING OF ASIA/PACIFIC STATISTICIANS ON IT&T STATISTICS
The above meeting was held in Brisbane in May this year and was attended by Asia/Pacific statisticians with expertise in the design and collection of statistics on IT&T. Countries represented were Singapore, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong (SAR of China), New Zealand and Australia. The aim of the meeting was to give IT&T statisticians an opportunity to work together to better understand the issues and future directions for statistical work in this field.
Information about the meeting and papers can be found on the ABS web site under Themes (go to the ABS web site, https://www.abs.gov.au, and select Themes from the menu shown on the left side).
2.2 HOUSEHOLD USE OF IT
The November quarter 2000 Population Survey Monitor (PSM) was the last PSM to be conducted by the ABS. As the PSM was the source of our Household Use of Information Technology (HUIT) data, these data will no longer be produced by the ABS on a quarterly basis.
For 2001, a subset of the HUIT module of questions has been incorporated into the Survey of Education and Training (now called the Survey of Education, Training and Information Technology - SETIT). A publication is expected to be released from SETIT in early 2002.
The last HUIT release was a compilation of PSM data relating to the year 2000. Data from the four quarterly PSM surveys in 2000 were consolidated to produce average annual estimates. This consolidation allows detail for smaller target groups, such as State and Territory populations, to be presented. These average annual results were released in May in ABS publication Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2000 (Cat no. 8146.0).
Key indicators from this publication included:
- In 2000, over half (53%) of all Australian households (3.8 million households) had a home computer while one third (33%) had home Internet access. As shown in the following graph, the number of households with a computer but without Internet access is decreasing.
Household Access to Computers and the Internet
- Over a quarter of the households with a home computer had access to two or more computers. Overall there were 5.4m computers in those 3.8m households in 2000. Four out of every five computers were used at least once a week, while half were used to access the Internet.
- By 2000, 61% of Australian households had access to a mobile phone, up from 45% in 1998.
- Nearly half (47%) of all Australian adults accessed the Internet during 2000, while two thirds (66%) used a computer during that year. Older adults have been slower to adopt these new technologies, as can be seen in the graph below.
Adult Computer and Internet Use, By Age Groups
- Home is now the site from which adults are most likely to access the Internet. Although 4.0m adults accessed the Internet from home during 2000, another 1.1m adults had home Internet access but chose not to use it.
Site of Adult Internet Access
- Over half (53%) of those adults who used a computer at home during 2000 did so for work related purposes. Other popular reasons for use were to correspond with family or friends (43% of adults using a computer at home), for study or other learning activities (40%), to keep family or personal records (36%) or to play games (35%).
- Over two thirds (68%) of those adults accessing the Internet at home during 2000 did so to use email or to access chat sites. Over half did so just to browse or surf (57%), while over a third (36%) were looking for information related to their work.
- Nearly one million adults, or 7% of all adults, used the Internet during 2000 to order goods or services for their own private use, spending on average around $600 during the year.
- Most popular items among these purchases were books and magazines, music and computer software or equipment.
Maps showing the uptake of Internet access for households in each Australian capital city statistical division can be found in the latest release of 'State of Play' (June 2001), produced by the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE). The report can be accessed from the home page of the NOIE web site, www.noie.gov.au. The maps were constructed using data from the ABS's April 2000 Monthly Population Survey. The survey also collected information about children's use of computers and the Internet; details of these results can be found in the ABS publication Use of the Internet by Householders, August 2000 (Cat. no. 8147.0).
Main Features from catalogues 8146.0 and 8147.0 can be found on the ABS web site.
2.3 BUSINESS USE OF IT
The ABS publication Business Use of Information Technology (Cat. no. 8129.0) presents details from the ABS Business Technology Survey. The latest results were released on 15 December 2000 in respect of the 1999-2000 financial year. Data collection is currently underway for the 2000-2001 survey with results expected to be released about February 2002.
The Business Technology survey is an annual economy wide survey collecting information from about 15,000 private sector businesses. These businesses are randomly selected to represent all industries, with the exception of Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Education, Religious organisations and Private households employing people.
The 1999-2000 survey focussed on the uptake of computer and Internet technologies, including web technologies, among businesses. It also collected details of business use of the Internet and web, including activities related to purchasing or selling goods or services over the Internet or web. The 2000-2001 survey will collect similar details with additional data relating to the perceived benefits of purchasing or selling via the Internet or web.
Development for the 2001-2002 survey is about to commence. Comments or suggestions regarding the data content for this survey are welcomed and should be addressed to Sheridan Roberts. Contact details can be found at the end of the newsletter.
Some of the key findings from the 1999-2000 survey were that approximately 3 out of every 4 businesses used computers, just under 3 in every 5 accessed the Internet while about 1 in every 6 businesses had web sites or home pages.
Debate around the world continues on the extent and definition of e-commerce. The Business Technology Survey collects the value of Internet sales, defining an Internet commerce transaction as:
"The sale or purchase of goods and/or services conducted over the Internet (including via email, public Web sites or B2B Internet based trading systems). Both the method of payment and delivery of the product are irrelevant, that is they may occur by more traditional off-line means, such as phone or mail."
In Australia, the value of Internet commerce for the year ended 30 June 2000 was estimated at $5.1b. This represented only a very small portion (0.4%) of the total sale of goods and services over the same period.
Main Features from catalogue 8129.0 can be found on the ABS web site.
2.4 GOVERNMENT USE OF IT
Results from the latest ABS Government Technology Survey are due for release before Christmas. The results are in respect of the 1999-2000 financial year and will be published in Government Use Of Information Technology, Australia, 1999-2000 (Cat. no. 8119.0).
2.5 FARM USE OF IT
Data relating to the use of computers and the Internet on farms are obtained from the ABS Agricultural Commodity Survey (ACS). The survey covers all farms with an estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) of $5,000 or more. Results were released in the ABS publication Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia, 2000 (Cat. no. 8150.0) on 26 September 2001.
The ACS is an annual survey which, in the past, was conducted in respect of the year ended 30 March. From 2000 onwards, the collection is in respect of the year ended 30 June. This change in collection period will align the ACS with other annual ABS surveys. Users of farm IT data should take care when comparing figures from previous releases as the lapsed time between the 1999 and 2000 surveys is 15 months, rather than 12.
Questions relating to IT were previously included on the ACS in 1998 and 1999. For 2001, IT questions were not included on the ACS but will be collected again in 2002.
Some of the main findings from the 2000 survey released on 26 September were:
- An estimated 58% (or 84,898) of the 146,371 farms in Australia used a computer at June 2000. This represented a 17% increase in the number of farms using a computer since March 1999 when the survey was last conducted.
- An estimated 34% (or 49,499) of farms in Australia used the Internet at June 2000. This represented a 91% increase in the number of farms using the Internet since March 1999.
- There was a strong relationship between computer and Internet use and the size of the farming operations, as shown in the graph below.
Main Features from catalogue 8150.0 can be found on the ABS web site.
2.6 INTERNET ACTIVITY
Internet Activity, Australia, June Quarter 2001 (Cat. no. 8153.0) was released on 27 September 2001. It featured results of the quarterly survey of Internet service providers (ISPs). The collection is a census of all Australian-based ISPs operating during the reference period. Data collected include: size and structure of the ISP industry, characteristics and location of ISP customers, their Internet usage and the nature of related telecommunications infrastructure. (ISPs are defined as businesses which supply Internet connectivity services to individuals, households, businesses and other organisations.)
Some findings from the June quarter survey were:
- The total number of ISPs continues to decline despite new ISPs entering the market. There were 718 ISPs operating at the end of the September quarter 2000. By the end of the June quarter 2001, there were 628 ISPs. The decrease has come mainly from the smaller ISPs (those with fewer than 10,000 subscribers).
- Very large ISPs provided Internet access for 57% of all subscribers at the end of the June quarter. This compares with 29%, 11%, 3% and 0.1% respectively for Large, Medium, Small and Very small ISPs.
- There were 1,204 million megabytes (Mbs) of data downloaded by subscribers during the June quarter 2001. This has increased from the three previous quarters (1,052 in September 2000, 1,050 in December 2000 and 1,040 in March 2001). During the June quarter 2001, household subscribers downloaded 648 million Mbs of data (54% of the total) while business and government subscribers downloaded 557 million Mbs. There was an overall average of 288 Mbs of data downloaded per Internet subscriber, with household subscribers averaging 176 Mbs of data downloaded, and business and government subscribers averaging 1,096 Mbs.
- Internet access technology is rapidly changing with a vast range of technologies available to access the Internet including: analog, digital, satellite, Wireless Applications Protocol (WAP), and microwave. There is keen policy interest in the growth of broadband technologies such as Cable and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). The survey shows that from September quarter 2000 to June quarter 2001, DSL subscribers increased from 6,000 to 27,000.
Other details, including information for States/Territories and smaller regions, are shown in catalogue 8153.0, Main Features of which can be found on the ABS web site.
Users should note that the frequency of the Internet Activity Survey may change during the current financial year. Following a review of the Survey, the ABS is considering reducing its frequency to biannual. If this occurs, it would be conducted in respect of September and March quarters each year.
2.7 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRIES
The final 1998-99 results from an ABS survey on the production and distribution of information technology and telecommunications (IT&T) goods and services by Australian businesses were released on 28 November 2000 in the ABS publication Information Technology, Australia, 1998-99 (Cat. no. 8126.0). The publication also included IT&T import and export data and IT&T international trade in services data obtained from other sources. This was the third survey covering the IT&T sector with the previous one being in respect of 1995-96.
The publication contains separate details on the IT&T industries included in the survey as well as information on the recorded media manufacturing and distribution industry (because it undertakes significant IT&T activities).
IT&T Production surveys will be undertaken on a biennial basis in future with the next in respect of 2000-01. This survey is currently in progress, with the data expected to be released in Information Technology, Australia, 2000-01 (Cat. no. 8126.0) in July 2002.
Main Features from catalogue 8126.0 can be found on the ABS web site.
2.8 IT&T REGIONAL INFORMATION
Policy makers and others are increasingly interested in regional IT&T data. Within the limitations of survey methodology, ABS is striving to meet this demand and is, or will be, able to offer regional data as follows:
- The 2001 Population Census included the following IT questions asked of all persons in the household:
Did the person use a personal computer at home last week?
Did the person use the Internet anywhere last week?
(Mark all applicable boxes)
Yes, at home
Yes, at work
These questions should provide very useful statistics on regional access to IT, cross classified against a large range of variables. Results are expected to be available around mid 2002.
- Data down to the Statistical Division level, in respect of farm use of IT, are available from the Agricultural Commodity Survey. Survey results in respect of 2000 are now available from catalogue 8150.0.
- As the new quarterly survey of Internet service providers (ISPs) includes all businesses, some regional data in relation to 'points of presence' are available at Statistical Division level. See catalogue 8153.0 for more details.
3 RESEARCH & EXPERIMENTAL DEVELOPMENT (R&D) STATISTICS
3.1 BUSINESS R&D SURVEY 1999-2000
The processing of the Business R&D survey for the year 1999-2000 has been completed and results have been released. Details of R&D expenditure and human resources devoted to R&D classified by type of expenditure, location of expenditure, source of funds, type of employee, research fields and socioeconomic objectives are available.
Summary statistics are contained in the publication 8104.0 Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia 1999-2000 which was released on 11 July 2001.
Key findings included:
- In 1999-2000, Business Expenditure on R&D (BERD) was estimated to be $4,045m at current prices, marginally lower than that recorded in 1998-99. In volume terms, BERD continued to fall, with 1999-2000 down 3% on 1998-99.
- BERD as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell to 0.64% in 1999-2000, following decreases in the previous three years. Australia's BERD/GDP ratio remains relatively low when compared with those available for other OECD countries, being lower than those for Japan, the United States of America, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Canada.
- The Mining industry recorded a 43% decrease in R&D expenditure, while expenditure by the Manufacturing industry remained about the same. R&D expenditure by Other industries (in total) increased by 12%.
- The leading States in terms of R&D expenditure were Victoria with $1,474m and New South Wales with $1,414m, accounting for 36% and 35% of total R&D expenditure respectively. Queensland recorded $438m (11%), while Western Australia with $342m (8%) had the next highest R&D expenditure.
- Computer software ($542m or 13%), Communications technologies ($356m or 9%), Manufacturing engineering ($346m or 9%), Automotive engineering ($324m or 8%), Information systems ($264m or 7%) and Medical and health sciences ($253m or 6%) were the main fields of research.
3.2 HIGHER EDUCATION R&D SURVEY 2000
Documentation for the survey of R&D undertaken by higher education institutions in 2000 has been prepared and distributed to universities. Details of R&D expenditure and human resources devoted to R&D classified by type of expenditure, location of expenditure, source of funds, type of employee, type of activity, research fields and socio-economic objectives will be collected.
The classifications contained in the 1998 edition of the ASRC are being used for the first time; replacing those in the 1993 edition of the ASRC.
The due date for the return of data to the ABS was 31 August 2001 and it is envisaged that results will be released early in 2002.
3.3 R&D SURVEYS 2000-2001
Dispatch of the surveys of R&D undertaken by businesses, government organisations and private non-profit organisations in 2000-2001 took place in August 2001. Details of R&D expenditure and human resources devoted to R&D classified by type of expenditure, location of expenditure, source of funds, type of employee, type of activity, research fields and socio-economic objectives will be collected.
The 2000-2001 surveys will be the first surveys of R&D by government and private non-profit organisations to use the classifications contained in the 1998 edition of the ASRC.
3.4 INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS
The ABS surveys of R&D are conducted in accordance with standard guidelines promulgated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and contained in the OECD publication, The Measurement of Scientific and Technological Activities ('Frascati Manual' 1993). These guidelines are currently being reviewed and Australia is represented on several of the working groups undertaking the revisions.
4 BIOTECHNOLOGY STATISTICS
There is growing recognition worldwide that biotechnology offers many opportunities for delivering economic and social benefits to citizens of both developed and developing countries. However, there is currently little statistical information available to monitor the diffusion of biotechnology and to assist with policy choices.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics is currently participating in an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Group that has been set up to develop a set of internationally comparable biotechnology statistical indicators. A prerequisite for this development involves the preparation of a statistical framework to specify the indicators and ways in which they might be compiled, with a key issue being the establishment of a definition for 'biotechnology'.
The current intention is that 'biotechnology' will be defined in terms of a single definition supported by a list based definition. The provisional definitions proposed by the Working Group are as follows:
Single definition: The application of S&T to living organisms as well as parts, products and models thereof, to alter living or non-living materials for the production of knowledge, goods and services.
List based: The list based definition is based on the following five categories:
- DNA (the coding): genomics, pharmaco-genetics, gene probes, DNA sequencing/synthesis/amplification, genetic engineering.
- Proteins and molecules (the functional blocks): protein/peptide sequencing/synthesis, lipid/protein engineering, proteomics, hormones, and growth factors, cell receptors/signalling/pheromones.
- Cell and tissue culture and engineering: cell/tissue culture, tissue engineering, hybridisation, cellular fusion, vaccine/immune stimulants, embryo manipulation
- Process biotechnologies: bioreactors, fermentation, bioprocessing, bioleaching, bio-pulping, bio-bleaching, biodesulphurization, bioremediation, and biofiltration.
- Sub-cellular organisms: gene therapy, viral vectors.
As a means of refining the provisional definitions, some members of the Working Group, including Australia, are currently undertaking a pilot test of the definitions in their respective countries. Any comments on the above definitions would be greatly appreciated. Comments can be sent to Derek Byars at email@example.com. Alternatively, if you feel that a meeting would be more productive, please email Derek or contact him on (02) 6252 5627.
5 KNOWLEDGE BASED ECONOMY AND SOCIETY INDICATORS
ABS is developing a statistical framework for measuring the Knowledge Based Economy and Society. We expect to publish an Information Paper on the framework early in 2002.
The current draft has five dimensions. Each dimension is described by several characteristics and each characteristic is associated with one or more statistical indicators.
Following release of the Information Paper, we hope to receive feedback on whether the framework is considered by the expert community to be conceptually and methodologically sound, as well as whether the proposed indicators are appropriate.
No final decision has yet been made on dissemination of information from the framework. A publishing strategy will be included in the Information Paper and feedback on the strategy would be appreciated.
During the 2001 Australia Day Speech, Prime Minister John Howard launched "Backing Australia's Ability: An innovation action plan for the future". This outlined the Government's strategy to further encourage and support innovation and enhance Australia's international competitiveness, economic prosperity and social well-being. The initiatives are designed to: strengthen our ability to generate ideas and undertake research; accelerate the commercial application of these ideas; and develop and retain Australian skills.
With the current interest in the innovativeness of Australian business, the ABS is undertaking preliminary research into how business innovation might be measured. Anyone interested in further information or in contributing to this research, please contact Clem Tozer on firstname.lastname@example.org. "Backing Australia's Ability" is available from: www.innovation.gov.au
7 SPECIAL ARTICLE: IT&T IMPORT AND EXPORT DATA
As mentioned in section 2.7, the next IT&T producers survey is being undertaken in respect of 2000-01, and biennially thereafter. However, some data in respect of IT&T goods and services trade are available for the financial year 1999-2000. They include IT&T import and export data and IT&T international trade in services data obtained from other sources. Available data are presented below.
Exports (including re-exports) of selected IT&T goods and services totalled $5,156 million in 1999-2000, an increase of 18% since 1998-99. Imports of these items were valued at $16,074 million, a 19% increase since 1998-99. This represents a trade deficit for 1999-2000 of $10,918 million and compares with $9,148 million in 1998-99. (It should be noted that the imports and exports details include amounts for re-exports, which are goods imported into Australia and subsequently exported in the same condition, or after undergoing minor operations which leave them essentially unchanged.)
Whilst total overall exports (including re-exports) rose since 1998-99, a number of item values actually fell over this period. On the other hand, there was an increase in the imports of all commodities in 1999-2000 compared with 1998-99. See Table 1 for details.
The major source of IT&T imports (excluding software) in 1999-2000 continued to be the United States of America ($3,020 million or 23%), Singapore ($1,536 million or 12%) and Malaysia ($1,345 million or 10%). The major destination of IT&T exports (excluding software) in 1999-2000 were New Zealand ($449 million or 16%) and the United States of America ($394 million or 14%). See Table 2 for details.
Trends for imports and exports of selected IT&T goods since 1995-96 are shown in the following graph.
Table 1 - Imports and Exports of Selected IT&T Goods and Services
|Mainframe & data processing machines|
|Laptop, notebook & similar portable computers|
|PCs and similar desktop computers|
|Laser and other printer systems|
|Other input-output devices and peripherals (including scanners, keyboards, monitors etc)|
|Consumables (including removable storage media)|
|Other computer and communications hardware (excluding storage media)|
|Telephone and telegraph equipment (excl. parts)|
|Mobile, cellular and car phones|
|CB and other mobile radio transceiving equipment|
|Other telecommunications and transceiving equipment|
|Insulated optical fibre cable|
|Co-axial cable and other co-axial electrical conductors|
|Total IT&T goods|
|Packaged software and associated licensing|
|Total IT&T services|
|Total IT&T goods & services|
na not available
(a) Import and export data are compiled by the ABS from information submitted by importers, exporters or their agents to the Australian Customs Service. Exports includes exports of Australian commodities and re-exports of foreign origin. Because of the large volume of transactions involved, it is inevitable that there will be some errors, misclassifications and approximations in the statistics.
(b) Includes both postal and telecommunication service data. Telecommunication services data are not separately available.
Table 2 - Imports and Exports of Selected IT&T Goods(a) by Major Country of Origin/Destination(b), 1999-2000
output devices & peripherals
Computer parts &
equipment & cables
|Hong Kong (SAR of China)|
|Korea, Republic of|
|United States of America|
|Hong Kong (SAR of China)|
|Papua New Guinea|
|United States of America|
(a) Data in this table relate to merchandise trade and not to trade in services. Import and export data are compiled by the ABS from information submitted by importers, exporters or their agents to the Australian Customs Service. Exports include exports of Australian commodities and re-exports of goods of foreign origin. Because of the large volume of transactions involved, it is inevitable that there will be some errors, misclassifications and approximations in the statistics.
(b) Countries are classified according to the 1998 Standard Australian Classification of Countries (SACC, Cat. no. 1269.0).
(c) Excludes packaged software.
(d) Includes re-imports and imports with country unknown.
(e) Includes exports classified to International Waters, Ship and Aircraft Stores, Zone of Cooperation A in the Timor Gap, and a commodity subject to a 'no country details' confidentiality restriction.
8 FOR MORE INFORMATION....
For more information, please contact:
Acting Director, Science & Technology Statistics (Innovation, Biotechnology and R&D):
Phone: (02) 6252 6709
Director, Science & Technology Statistics (IT&T and KBE/S):
Phone (02) 6252 5019
Assistant Director, R&D and Biotechnology Statistics:
Phone: (02) 6252 5627
Assistant Director, Information Technology Activity Surveys:
Phone: (02) 6252 5189
Assistant Director, Information Technology and Telecommunications Industry and Research:
Phone: (02) 6252 7895
Assistant Director outposted to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources:
Phone: (02) 6213 7192
This page first published 16 November 2001, last updated 15 November 2004