FIGURE 2-1 A policy-driven framework for STI indicators.
NOTE: R&D = research and development; S&T = science and technology; STI = science, technology, and innovation. SOURCE: Panel’s own work.

important in many areas, including geospatial hot spots for entrepreneurial activities; potential avenues for broadening the participation of women, minorities, and people with disabilities in STEM fields; contributions to S&T breakthroughs from the social and behavioral sciences; the uptake of ideas for innovation from consumers; and the inclusivity of growth for various rungs of society. All of these top-level issues—drivers, trends, advances, vulnerabilities, relationships, and distributions—have underlying metrics that users want.6

At the panel’s June 2012 workshop, representatives of the OECD-National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI) Working Group implicitly described the STI system.7 A system consists of actors, engaged in activities, with linkages to other actors and activities, giving rise to short-term outcomes and long-term impacts. Actors are people who are observed individually or as collectives, such as teams or organizations. In a high-level analysis, the actors are governments, institutions of education and research, businesses, and others such as private nonprofit organizations. The activities in which the actors engage include research, invention, development, design and other engineering tasks, innovation, diffusion of technologies and practices, education and training, and capital investment. Examples of linkages are grants and contracts, collaboration, partnerships, codevelopment, copublication, and social networks.

Mapping the system, understanding it, and explaining it to policy makers—all themes that emerged in the workshop—require data linkage and microdata analysis. The result of addressing these themes would be new and better indicators on linkages in addition to existing indicators on activities such as R&D, trade in R&D services, and the production and mobility of highly qualified people. Workshop participants also stressed that a system exists in space and time, and looking in more detail at regions is important, as is providing policy-relevant indicators to policy makers in a more timely manner.


This section summarizes the priorities of two key groups of users of NCSES products: users of microdata and users of STI indicators.


6A list of policy issues and related questions appears in Appendix B and is referenced in Chapters 4-6.

7See Appendix D for the workshop agenda and the list of attendees. NCSES staff were represented at the workshop.

8The panel was unable to obtain a full list of users from NCSES. Identifying its full customer base is difficult for NCSES because the vast majority obtain information anonymously via the World Wide Web. Therefore, the panel derived information about key users from NCSES, panel members who are experienced data users, and some of the users who were interviewed for this study.

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