- Explore new data developments at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and international governing bodies for patents, copyrights and trademarks, and make recommendations to NCSES on readily available and reliable data on these indicators of invention and potential innovation.
- Investigate further the use of microdata to develop STI statistics, including data retrieved using web tools and administrative records. The purpose of this task is to discover other occurrences of competitions and prizes that are used in the federal context for data development and to suggest to NCSES the parameters that are necessary for such a competition to be successful. We will also further investigate the methodological issues that could limit the utility of indicators resulting from non-survey methods.
- Investigate further the reliability and opportunity costs of NCSES’s developing new subnational STI indicators. Since NCSES already produces science and engineering indicators at the state level, we will be looking into the production of STI indicators for finer geographic scales, including metropolitan areas. We will also consider whether data from various subnational scales can be aggregated to national levels, although this is typically fraught with problems.
- Investigate further the potential for and complexities of data linking among U.S. statistical agencies and international organizations that have STI data and statistics. The panel expects to offer specific recommendations on how to use such collaborations to produce new and better STI indicators.
- Explore the role of institutions and regulations that inform STI activities. We will also consider what quantitative or qualitative information would inform the public on the role of culture in the innovation system and the public perception of science, technology, and innovation in the U.S. and abroad. The National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators biennial volume contains a chapter on public attitudes and understanding of science and technology (see National Science Board, 2010).4
- Explore further the possibility of a coordination role for NCSES on STI data and statistics. An interagency council or working group on STI statistics could be created to identify potential synergies among datasets at federal statistical agencies. Any coordination activity of the council for NCSES would only relate to STI, and not to other collections pertaining to economic, demographic, or other statistics that are gathered and disseminated at the federal level.
The panel expects to offer recommendations that require longer lead times for data and tool development than those in this report, as well as recommendations on coordination with specific divisions of other statistical agencies in the United States and abroad. We will address the net value added of proposed indicators, and we expect to specify which data activities and indicators can be eliminated by NCSES. The panel’s final report is scheduled to be released in December 2012.
4The National Science Board released the 2012 issue of Science and Engineering Indicators on January 18, 2012. Since that edition was not available to the panel for this interim report, we cite the 2010 version here. In the final report we will cite the 2012 edition.