Data on research income and outputs is collected for research performance analysis and for reporting to government including as part of ERA. Information on research income is also submitted to the Commonwealth as part of the HERDC specifications.
Research inputs and outputs reported as part of this process must meet this definition of research as defined in the ERA Submission Guidelines:
"The creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative."
Further information on the eligibility of research outputs are detailed in the ERA Submission Guidelines that can be found on the 2019 Higher Education Research Data Collection Specifications.
This definition of research is consistent with a broad notion of research and experimental development as:
“…creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humanity, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise applications.”
OECD (2002), Frascati Manual: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development, Paris.
The above definition encompasses pure and oriented basic research, applied research and experimental development, defined as follows:
- Basic research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.
- Pure basic research is carried out for the advancement of knowledge, without seeking economic or social benefits or making an active effort to apply the results to practical problems or to transfer the results to sectors responsible for their application.
- Oriented basic research is carried out with the expectation that it will produce a broad base of knowledge likely to form the basis of the solution to recognised or expected current or future problems or possibilities.
- Applied Research is original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is, however, directed primarily towards a specific, practical aim or objective (including a client-driven purpose).
- Experimental development is systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience and producing additional knowledge, which is directed to producing new products or processes or to improving existing products or processes.
Further information on what activity is considered research can be found in the HERDC Specifications on the 2019 Higher Education Research Data Collection Specifications.