Higher Education Research Data Collection

About the HERDC

The Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) comprises of research income and research publications data submitted by universities each year. Each year, the department updates the HERDC specifications in consultation with universities and other relevant stakeholders. The HERDC specifications control the collection of higher education research data and are designed to ensure the Australian Government’s research block grants are allocated in a fair and transparent way and to support the policy intent of the funding.

Data collected, along with data from the Higher Education Student Data Collection, is used to determine annual allocations to universities for the research block grants.

Draft 2015 HERDC Specifications


(for the collection of 2014 data) are now available for comment.

Key changes from 2014

Section 2 of the document outlines all of the key changes to 2014.

The 2015 Specifications have been re-formatted to improve readability. Specifically, the introduction has been streamlined, administrative requirements have been moved to the front of the document, definitions (other than the definition of research) have been moved into the body of the text, and Part A (Category 1-3 research income) has been revised to improve clarity and reduce duplication.

In response to queries the department has received throughout the year, two changes have been made to reporting affiliate income (section 4.3) and Apportioning Authors (section 6.4).

Information regarding the reporting of affiliate income has been incorporated into Third Party Income and additional clarification has been provided, including an example. The clarification attempts to explain further what is considered to be a bona fide employment relationship between a HEP and an affiliate researcher and what is considered to be commensurate to that relationship and therefore reportable by the HEP.

Additional clarification for publications involving a consortium of researchers as an author has also been included in Part C.

These amendments do not change the type of data collected.

Comments on Draft 2015 HERDC Specifications

The deadline for comments on the draft 2015 HERDC Specifications is by close of business, Friday 13 February 2015. Please forward your comments to RBGrants@education.gov.au. Any queries about this consultation process should also be directed to RBGrants@education.gov.au.

2014 HERDC Specifications


for the collection of 2013 data are available.

The 2014 HERDC Specifications were endorsed by Universities Australia (via its Pro and Deputy Vice-Chancellors (Research) (P-DVC-R) Committee).

For enquiries relating to the specifications of the collection, email: RBGrants@education.gov.au with "HERDC" as the subject line.

Technical Advice - Calculation of Book Chapter Values for an Author

This spreadsheet provides assistance for research officers to attribute book chapter values to an author for HERDC Return 2 (Research Publications):

Historical Information - HERDC Specifications

2007 to 2009 HERDC Specifications are available by emailing the department at: RBGrants@education.gov.au with "HERDC" as the subject line.