Statistical Indicators
Benchmarking the Information Society



Currently available official statistics have been found seriously inadequate to the task of charting Europe's progress in an Information Society. The bulk of official statistics continue to be tuned to the economic and social systems typical of a Europe emerging from Word War II, when manufacturing dominated over services, tangible assets over intangibles and traditional over flexible employment models.

It is against this background that SIBIS has developed indicators that reflect the priorities and targets of the e-Europe initiative. To achieve this purpose a large amount of material from political sources (EU, international organisations such as the OECD and ILO, European countries, and the US), statistical offices and the scientific literature has been collected and evaluated. The analysis of this material has resulted in a broad overview of the existing knowledge (measurement concepts, indicators and data) on measuring the transformation of the industrial society to an information society. The project has also developed a number of new indicators which fill in some of the gaps to assessing this trend. The overview of the collected material including a collection of already existing indicators and the new indicators have been specified and are presented and made available to the IST programme and interested parties in a series of nine topic research reports (publication date: January 2002).

The SIBIS consortium has undertaking extensive pan-European surveys of enterprises and the general population to further develop and test the indicators and collect first empirical data.

Based on the survey results, a series of nine Topic Reports was published (final versions: April 2003) followed by a series of ten EU Acceding and Candidate Country Reports (May 2003) assessing the current state of European information society and benchmarking individual countries.

An e-Europe Indicator Handbook has been provided in September 2003 which details indicator definitions and construction in a way appropriate for use by statistical agencies.

In addition to these activities the project has been active in carrying out and evaluation and benchmarking of key actions of the e-Europe Action Plan to benchmark achievements and their progress in all 15 EC Member States and 10 EC Candidate Countries (Newly Associated States, NAS). The results for 2001 have been published in January 2002, those for 2002 in April 2003.