June 7, 2019

Australian and NZ Standard Research Classification review – IRU submission

The IRU has submitted its response to the review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), which seeks to ensure research classifications reflect current practice and remain responsive to change in the research sector.

The review is being jointly undertaken by ARC, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Statistics New Zealand (Stats NZ), and the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The IRU believes ANZSRC is important for measurement and analysis of research and experimental development across fields and types of research, and for long-term analysis of research output and mix in Australia. To do this, the IRU says ANZSRC must provide a comprehensive and useful description of Australian research, while maintaining alignment and comparability with international standards.

Overall, the ANZSRC functions effectively to categorise the array of research in Australia. Its major limitation is when it is assumed to be the best classification to assess research output. Research that targets solving major issues often draws on multiple areas of expertise applied to the common challenge.

The Review of ANZSRC targets incremental improvements, being cautious not to depart from international and historical standards, while being open to changes which better describe the current status of Australia’s research system. The classification should alter to reflect changes in research practices and emerging lines of research. Where changes are needed, the impact on time-series comparability should be addressed.

The IRU proposes three areas where changes to ANZSRC should be considered:

  1. to capture more effectively the array of research on Indigenous issues
  2. to ensure balance across the classification by considering dividing the currently large medical research division
  3. to address emerging fields and interdisciplinary research.

Read the full IRU response (PDF)