Prometheus: Vol 12, No 2 (1994)

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Peter E Earl
Pages: 131-151


This paper is an attempt to make a contribution to current debates about the reform of higher education by using the work of Ronald Coase on the nature of the firm as a framework for considering alternative institutional structures for delivering educational services. Attention is focused particularly on rival ways of coordinating the delivery of educational services and guaranteeing standards. Extreme market-based scenarios involving freelance academics and itemised billing for specific services are contrasted with the present system involving very incomplete contracts for academic employees and package deal purchases of degrees by students. Costs and benefits of different institutional structures are examined. The role of academic professionalism in limiting opportunistic behaviour is considered in relation to policies that involve an increase in auditing of tertiary institutions.

Lars Qvortrup
Pages: 152-172


This research literature review reflects the historical development of research in telematics and regional development, focusing particularly on the inherent research paradigms. In an early phase (the 1960s and 1970s), research was dominated by correlation analyses based on a communication model paradigm with communication as a cause-and-effect process. However, during the 1980s a large number of micro causational analyses were performed. This then led to a new paradigm, according to which communication is a process of interference among complex social systems. This literature review concludes that although the complexity of the relation between telecommunication and regional development must indeed be recognised, currently, there is a need to assist policy making by trying to classify the “myriad of factors” identified during the “complex systems paradigm” tradition into a less complicated typology, and thus to reduce the numerous policy recommendations into a manageable number of integrated strategies.

Ralph Young , Bob Garrett & Chris Walsh
Pages: 173-188


It has long been the practice of many competitive funding agencies to fund research at a level below full cost, and frequently to exclude salary costs. The implicit subsidy to beneficiaries has been a matter of concern to research performers as well as to government. More recently the greater emphasis given to competitive funding, reductions in direct appropriation funding, the setting of priorities by funding agencies which may differ from a research performer’s assessment of priorities and the imposition of external funding targets on research performers by government with the aim of strengthening ties with industry have changed the nature of the game. The commercialisation thrust associated with these changes has given the issue of research pricing greater priority. This paper considers a number of theoretical pricing issues against this background, including the relevance of marginal cost pricing and the impact of the marginal funding policy of granting agencies. A Commonwealth view of research pricing is then offered, based on recent work undertaken by a working party of the Coordination Committee on Science and Technology. The paper concludes with a discussion of CSIRO’s recent experience with research pricing and likely future directions for research pricing policy.

Keith Acheson & Christopher Maule
Pages: 189-206


A comparison of options currently available to television viewers in three cities in Australia, Canada and the U.K. identifies more extensive choice in the last two countries. Geographic location, the availability of overflow signals, attitudes to public and private broadcasting and the rate of adoption of new delivery systems such as cable and satellite are used to explain the regulatory decisions that have lead to the existing differences. Technology is expanding the range of choice and will likely leave viewers with similar options in all three markets in the near future. The article examines the use made of auctions to allocate pay television and other licences and compares it to alternative allocative mechanisms. Our discussion provides a snapshot of a rapidly changing landscape.

Shantha Liyanage & Helen Mitchell
Pages: 207-224


The proliferation of research collaborations amongst industry, university and public sector research organisations encourages and increases national innovative capacity. Innovation activities in research collaborations are governed by four major determinants that are critical for the transformation of new ideas generated within research organisations into commercial products, processes or user services. These determinants include the status of knowledge, organisational management factors, linkage mechanisms and market and user opportunities. Interaction between these determinants is important for an analysis of innovation clusters formed across different national research programs. This paper discusses the relationships between major determinants of innovation using a ‘symbiotic’ model which is similar to Michael Porter’s ‘diamond’ model for competitive advantages of national industries. The model is applied to emerging ‘innovation clusters’ supported by the Cooperative Research Centres Program in Australia and is field tested at centre level for its explanatory viability. The discussion provides insights into improved management methods for innovation in collaborative research arrangements.

Ron Johnston
Pages: 225-245


It is commonplace that communication technologies are altering the face of research…Networks have become an accepted part of the practice of science. Researchers continue to clamour for network capability, and devour network capacity and services as fast as engineers can deploy them. But there is much more growth and experience to come. We are at an early stage of the learning curve.

Policies that influence the rate of adoption and degree of access to telecommunication channels have profound implications for science. At one extreme, as different scientific disciplines adopt different channels at different rates, the likelihood of cross-disciplinary research decreases and differences in the rate of progress in those disciplines become more obvious … At the other extreme, adoption of the same telecommunication channels at the same rate promotes the sharing of knowledge, extended research groups, more information transfer, and the rapid diffusion of scientific information – but undermines disciplinary boundaries and reward structures.

Ann Hodgkinson
Pages: 246-261


The Australian telecommunications equipment sector appears to have shown a marked improvement in international competitiveness since the mid-1980s. This paper analyses the causes of this growth in terms of responses to changes in the global— particularly the Asia-Pacific — market and market developments in Australia. This improved competitive position has resulted in organisational change within multinational firms based in Australia, with evidence of corporate specialisation, growing intra-industry trade and emerging strategic alliances which will link the local industry more closely with global developments.

Review Article
D. McL. Lamberton
Pages: 262-267

Book review
Why Information Systems Fail: A Case Study Approach by Chris Sauer (Alfred Waller Limited, Henley-on-Thames. 1993), pp. xi + 369, £17.95, ISBN 1-872474-08-X
Brenda Dervin
Pages: 268-270

Book review
Telecommunications Demand in Theory and Practice by Lester D Taylor (Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 1993), pp.xviii + 406, US$132.50, ISBN 0-7923-2389-0
D. McL. Lamberton
Pages: 271-273

Book review
The Economics of Intellectual Property in a World without Frontiers by Meheroo Jussawalla (Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 1992), pp.158 ISBN 0 313 27620 X
Peter Drahos
Pages: 273-275

Book review
Portraits in Science compiled and introduced by Ann Moyal (National Library of Australia, Canberra, 1994) pp. v + 200, $23.95, ISBN 0642 106169
Barry Jones MP
Pages: 276-277

Book review
On the Edge of Discovery edited by Farley Kelly (The Text Publishing Company, Melbourne, 1993), pp. xii + 348, illust. ISBN 1 86372 029 4
Ann Moyal
Pages: 277-279

Book review
Information and Communication in Economics edited by Robert E. Babe (Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, Dordrecht and London, 1994), pp.xv + 347, US$99.95, ISBN 07923-9358-9
Bill Martin
Pages: 279-282

Book review
The British Industrial Revolution: an Economic Perspective edited by Joel Mokyr (Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1993), pp. xi + 362, US$55.00 hc., 18.95 pb., ISBN 0-8133-8509-1/5
Peter Stubbs
Pages: 282-285

Book review
On Target? Review of the Operation of External Earnings Targets for CSIRO, ANSTO and AIMS by Australian Science and Technology Council (Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1994) pp.xviii + 92, ISBN 0-644-33079-1, Summary Report, pp.xvi + 24, ISBN 0-644-33149-6
Clem Tisdell
Pages: 285-287

Book review
Silicon Samurai — How Japan Conquered the World’s IT Industry by Tom Forester (Blackwell Business, Cambridge, MA and Oxford, 1993) pp viii + 224, $39.95 (hardback) ISBN 1-557-862923
Stan Aungles
Pages: 287-288

Book review
Communication Technology Update: 1993-1994 edited by August E. Grant and Kenton T. Wilkinson (Technology Futures, Inc., Austin, Texas, 1993) pp. vi + 352, US$25.00, ISBN 1-884154-02-8
Robyn A. Lindley
Pages: 288-290

Book review
Time to Change by David Suzuki, (Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1993) pp. xvi + 230, $19.95, ISBN 1-86373-569-0
Sharon Beder
Pages: 291-293

Book review
The Nature of Sustainable Development by Sharon Beder (Scribe Publications, Newham, Australia, 1993) pp. xv + 304, $32.95, ISBN 0-908-01124-5
Libby Robin
Pages: 293-295

Book review
New Technologies and the Firm: Innovation and Competition edited by Peter Swann (Routledge, London, 1993), pp. 383, £45, ISBN 0-415-08218-8
Robin Roy
Pages: 295-296

Book review
The Commercialization of News in the Nineteenth Century by Gerald J. Baldasty (University of Wisconsin Press, USA, 1992), pp. xii + 227, US$19.95, ISBN 0-299-13404-0 (pbk)
Peter B. White
Pages: 296-297

Book review
Innovation, Policy and Law: Australia and the International High Technology Economy by Chrstopher Arup (Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1993), pp. vii + 340, $59.95 hardback, ISBN 0 521430038
Fred Jevons
Pages: 297-299

Book review
Gene Technology: Issues for Australia, by Australian Science and Technology Council, (Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1993) pp. 151, ISBN 0 644 32561 5
Paul Martin & Brian Balmer
Pages: 299-300

Book review
Telecommunications in Transition — Policies, Services and Technologies in the European Community), edited by Charles Steinfield, Johannes M. Bauer and Laurence Caby. (Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, USA 1994), pp. ix + 307, $38.95, (pbk), ISBN 0 8039 4606 6 cloth, 0 8039 4607 4 paper
Ernst-Olav Ruhle
Pages: 301-303