Since the 1970s, Austrian universities have been providing data, published in the Statistical Pocketbook, to the Ministry in charge of universities. This serves as the immediate basis for decisions in the area of university policy and as a main fact pool for all other stakeholders involved in university policy (e.g. universities and self-administration institutions, student unions). The implementation of the new University Act in 2002 led to new challenges for the universities’ administration as it changed the nature and strategic frameworks of internal control processes. Thus, the goal was to make the relevant numbers of the Statistical Pocketbook accessible for free of charge and in an interactive manner.
Thanks to its functionality and accessibility the Interactive Statistical Pocketbook has turned the world of European university statistics information systems upside down and evolved into a successful best practice model. The project’s main focus was the provision of up-to date numbers and facts about higher education in Austria, made available at the touch of a button via an online portal. Available data includes indicators about students, graduates, staff, rooms, international education, which are all available free of charge and are accessible to the public. Thanks to this information, the universities’ performance is backed with quantitative facts, thus facilitating comparisons between universities. Users benefit from the additional advantage of adapting the pre-prepared indicators to their needs. This enables users to obtain pinpointed answers to their questions and to access them independently of clerks in charge at the Ministry. For instance, gender monitoring processes or the level of implementation of the Bologna process are now just a few clicks away.
The data made available on the web is generally used as a basis to monitor university-related objectives and to deduct strategic management functions for the major stakeholders in university policy. Due to its free access, this information is also available to journalists, entrepreneurs, university students as well as the interested public. The data ensures transparency and is a trusted basis for evidence-based decision-making processes, ranging from the choice of university majors or universities by individuals, customer screening by companies, to education advice. The system’s implementation went hand in hand with statutory processes about data collection, which significantly increased the indicators’ validity. Electronic data entry and updating also increases administrative efficiency and provides the opportunity for sophisticated handling of aggregated data in the Department of University Statistics.
This new interactive Statistical Pocketbook with enhanced data quality and easy access make it an ideal tool for university managers and the interested public alike. It allows users to show university performances and changes in the university system in a transparent manner and is customised to the needs of the target audience or user in question. It reduces the amount of work for the administration as the amount of printed materials has been drastically reduced and printing and transportation expenses have decreased significantly.
|Award category:||public service delivery|
|Sector:||Science, research, innovation|
|Type of activity:||communication strategy|
|Keywords:||Statistics information system, data, higher education|
|Short English description:||Interactive statistics information system, that provides up-to-date numbers and facts about higher education in Austria free of charge via an online portal.|
|Organisation:||Austrian Federal Ministry, of Science and Research|
|Level of government:||national level|
|Size of organisation:||>100|
|Number of people involved:|
|EU membership:||EU member|