Digitizing the Austrian Universities’ ICR for an Effective Higher Education Governance


  • Dominik Reisner Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research




Intellectual Capital, Higher Education Governance, Digitization, Search Function


The Intellectual Capital Reports (ICR) of the Austrian Universities are a major source of data needed for the evidence-based governance of the higher education sector in Austria. However, the current information gathering processes within the Science Ministry were very time consuming and labor-intensive due to the following reasons:

  1. Out of the three sections of the ICR universities could only deliver the indicator section via digital interface.
  2. The performance report as well as the performance agreement monitoring chapters, which consist largely of body of texts, had to be processed manually by gathering and compiling data out of separate pdf files for each university.

This impedes the effectiveness of the use of the data contained in the ICR for governance purposes.

Additionally, creating said elements at the universities largely happens by way of a collaborative effort. At some institutions, however, the processes for an effective collaboration require immense coordination efforts as these processes provide very little digital support.

Consequently, the Science Ministry, under involvement of the universities, decided to create a tool, which enables the universities to compile the majority of the ICR in an online database achieving the following effects:

The universities compile the ICR in a browser-based application in one of two ways: either they use the application’s interface to compile the report elements collaboratively with clear process structures as well as comprehensive tasks and responsibilities. Alternatively, universities may copy texts from MS Word files if they have already established their own processes.

The contents of the aforementioned sections are automatically entered into a search database that enables the Science Ministry to browse, compare and compile information either by keyword search or by exporting (sub)chapters. Search results may be grouped by single universities or groups of universities as well as the reporting year.

Thus, accessibility of information contained in the ICRs is more easily accessible by providing tools for effective of data mining, thus conserving staff resources and therefore enhance the informed decision-making processes required for effective governance.