APO 2018 wrap up

The staff and board of APO would like to thank all our readers, researchers, contributors, advertisers, Major Partners, Collection sponsors, collaborators and everyone else who has worked with APO in 2018.

We wish you all the best for the festive season and the New Year!

The APO team gets into the silly season spirit (L-R): Michelle Zwagerman, Tim McCarthy, Emily Silvester, Penelope Aitken, Amanda Lawrence, Craig Burton, Camilo Jorquera, Les Kneebone and Adam Scott (front). 

APO best of 2018

Every year at APO we prepare the Top 10 list of most viewed content across all major subject areas. View the full Top 10 list overall, or filter for the Top 10 in each of our 13 broad subject categories.

The year in review

It always seems to be a big year for APO but this year we have really grown significantly thanks to a large ARC infrastructure grant, the support of our APO Major Partners and an increasing number of special projects and collaborations. 

Technology is changing so rapidly, the database continues to grow, there are new ways of connecting and operating knowledge infrastructure, and  more demands and expectations of services and functionality. Now more than ever APO needs to work with other systems and organisations to ensure we can thrive as a public knowledge service in such a dynamic and exciting environment. 

Most people know that APO provides an excellent alert service, with daily, weekly and bi-monthly New Zealand Briefings updating readers on the latest research reports and papers. But APO is much more than this – we are also a publisher and open access repository of full text policy reports, papers and data, organised and available for the long term. Both services are essential if we are to have productive and democratic access to quality research and information on public interest issues.

LSP for Social Infrastructure

This year with support from the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Fund (LIEF) and our partner organisations and investigators we have been working on the Linked Semantic Platforms (LSP) for Social Infrastructure project (see the latest LIEF LSP Project update).  As part of this project we are developing specialist research collections on key research issues such as family violence, digital health, the future of work, and others which involves providing up-to-date monitoring of these issues and building databases of ‘grey literature’ for researchers and others to use in their policy analysis. Read more about new APO Feature Collections.

With full text comes the opportunity to develop text mining tools for automated curation which is a work in progress with Prof Timos Sellis and his team at Swinburne University. Together with Prof Mark Sanderson at RMIT University, we have been analysing the APO search system and looking at ways to improve this. And with Dr Steve McEachern at the Australian Data Archive (ADA) at Australian National University (ANU) we are working on linking APO reports with ADA data based initially on the University of Melbourne’s Household, Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA) dataset.

Evidence and evaluation – finding ways to filter information

Evaluating policy reports and publications is a difficult task as there are varying levels of production standards; some are clearly peer reviewed or expert reviewed, while others we simply cannot tell. More contextual aspects such as relevance, application, audience etc. are much more difficult to assess and probably beyond one individual. With partners at the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRC LCL) and the Home Modification Clearing House at University of New South Wales (UNSW) we have been looking at this issue. Systematic reviews are one approach which the CRC LCL has been investigating, and we believe APO can play an important support role as reviewers struggle to identify and access key resources outside of academic journals and databases. Dr Julia Littell from the Campbell Collaboration presented APO’s first Workshop on Systematic Reviews for the Social Sciences in October, which was very popular. 


APO Forum and the Public Knowledge Network

APO Forum 2018

The APO Forum is now officially an annual event with the second forum occurring in October 2018 in Melbourne. It was a fantastic one-day event with around  80 people attending. The theme was ‘Redesigning the Public Knowledge System’ with speakers covering topics such as systematic reviews, Indigenous knowledge, open government, academic open access, research impact and engagement, public interest journalism, publishing and public policy, Wikipedia and much more. 

View the APO Forum 2018 videos and slides.

Public Knowledge System Roundtable and Discussion Paper

To conclude the Forum, we held a roundtable discussion on the key issues facing the public knowledge ecosystem. Following on from this, Amanda Lawrence will lead a process to write up a collaborative discussion paper to be published in 2019. If you would like to be involved, a group mailing list has been set up called Public Knowledge Network. The network is for anyone interested in these issues to share news and resources and plan advocacy activities.  

To join simply email publicknowledgenetwork+subscribe@groups.io or go to the Public Knowledge Network groups website.


Thank you and best wishes for the festive season from everyone at APO!

Special thanks to our Major Partners:

Author: Amanda Lawrence

Amanda Lawrence worked at APO from mid 2006 until the end of 2018.