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This observation was written by Caroline Winter.

At a glance:

Title The Analysis & Policy Observatory
Creator n/a
Publication date n/a
Keywords Open access, scholarly communication, international policy

The Analysis & Policy Observatory (APO) is a member of the Canadian–Australian Partnership for Open Scholarship (CAPOS), a collaboration between the INKE Partnership and Australian-based partners that works toward greater engagement and capacity for open scholarship, internationally and locally. The Australian-based APO is a publisher of and repository for open access research and policy resources. It provides access to scholarly journal articles and books as well as reports, conference papers, briefings, and other types of publications from government, think tanks, NGOs, research centres, and scholarly publishers, among others (“About APO” 2019). APO is also a repository for datasets, commentaries, job postings, event notices, and media including audio, video, and websites. By providing open access to these resources, the APO “makes policy research visible, discoverable and usable” (“About APO” 2019) for researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders.

The APO was founded in 2002 at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, which, along with the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and the University of South Australia, remains one of its major partners (“About APO” 2019). APO is governed by an advisory board that includes members of its partner organizations and an Advisory Council of users from industry, government, NGOs, and universities (“About APO” 2019). The site currently houses more than 34,000 resources, and is updated daily (“About APO” 2019). Although the APO emphasizes current research, it also provides access to historical reports dating from the 1830s through its digitization program (“About APO” 2019). The APO offers a Daily Briefing highlighting its newest resources as well as other digests and communications by email subscription.

Resources in the APO are organized into collections, which include Ageing Society, Digital Health Systems, Forced Migration, Innovation & Business Growth, Urban Policy & Practice, Regional Development, and Open Knowledge. The Open Knowledge collection includes resources related to open access, open scholarship, and scholarly communication and “promotes openness and innovation in research dissemination” (“Open Knowledge” 2019). As of January 2019, the collection contained more than 200 resources and had over 11,300 page views. The collection is searchable and can be browsed through faceted navigation, with filters for relevance, date published, type of resource (e.g., journal article, report, discussion paper), collection, subject area (e.g., communication, justice, natural environment), subject (e.g., scholarly publishing, libraries, electronic games), and keyword (e.g., research libraries, creative commons, digital humanities). Results can also be filtered by geographic region, author, publisher, and journal title. These searching and filtering tools effectively enable productive browsing as well as targeted searching of the collection’s contents.

In addition to the open access repository, the APO runs a number of special projects. In 2018, for example, The APO led the Linked Semantic Platforms (LSP) for Social Infrastructure Project (Lawrence 2018). The LSP for Social Infrastructure Project leverages collaboration between related research projects and linked open data to create “open linked databases and innovative analytical tools” to support research related to social infrastructure, on topics such as transportation, public health, and digital inclusion (Zwagerman 2018). In addition to supporting research directly, this project also seeks to develop and improve the usability and impact of the data by developing tools and infrastructure for LOD, analysis, and data visualization in consultation with researchers.

In collaboration with researchers at the Australian Data Archive, APO is also developing text mining tools that will enable automatic curation (Lawrence 2018). They are also partnering with the Low Carbon Living CRC and the Home Modification Information Clearinghouse at the University of New South Wales to investigate best practices for systematic reviews of research material (Lawrence 2018).

Another initiative of the APO is the Public Knowledge Network, a collaborative network of researchers involved in the APO Forum, an annual gathering for researchers, students, and policymakers from various sectors, such as government, academia, NGOs, and media to connect and share knowledge about policy and policymaking. The theme of the 2018 gathering, held in October during International Open Access Week, was Redesigning the Public Knowledge System: New Tools and Strategies for Research, Policy and Practice.” Responding to the theme of OA Week 2018, “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge,” the APO forum “addressed the global crisis in the production, use and management of publicly funded research and information across all industries (Silvester 2018). The Forum program featured a keynote presentation by Howard White of the Campbell Collaboration, panel discussions and open lightning talk sessions, a workshop facilitated by Julia Littell from the Campbell Collaboration about Systematic Reviews for the Social Sciences, and a screening of Paywall: The Business of Scholarship. Videos and slides from the talks are available on the APO Blog.

Works Cited

“About APO.” 2019. Analysis & Policy Observatory.

Lawrence, Amanda. 2018. “APO 2018 Wrap Up.” APO Blog, Analysis and Policy Observatory, December 18, 2018.

“Open Knowledge.” 2019. Analysis & Policy Observatory.

Silvester, Emily. 2018. “APO Forum 2018 – Themes and Speakers Announced.” APO Blog, September 24, 2018.

Zwagerman, Michelle. 2018. “LSP for Social Infrastructure Project – Update.” APO Blog, December 18. 2018,