Current Sources of Data on Industrial R&D

The two principal public sources of data on U.S. industrial R&D expenditures are the National Science Foundation's Survey of Industrial Research and Development (Census form RD-1) and the 10-K financial reports that publicly traded U.S. firms file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). A database of the SEC filings by companies conducting R&D is maintained by Standard and Poor's CompuStat service. The public data sets differ in several respects. For example, the NSF survey but not CompuStat data includes privately held companies and foreign-based companies conducting R&D in the United States. CompuStat includes U.S.-based company R&D performed abroad, while the NSF survey does not.2

Other data on industrial R&D are collected by private firms and associations, research centers, and universities. Several examples were mentioned at the workshop. An annual R&D survey of Industrial Research Institute member companies has been carried out for four years in cooperation with the Center for Innovation Management Studies at Lehigh University under an NSF grant. The survey collects financial data about the source and allocation of R&D funds at the levels of the firm, the business segment, and the laboratory. The survey also requests information about the number and use of R&D personnel and measures of R&D performance at the firm and business unit levels. Wesley Cohen directed a onetime Carnegie Mellon University survey of manufacturing innovation in 1994. The Carnegie Mellon survey was administered in the United States and Japan and is designed to be compatible with parts of the European innovation survey. Cohen and his associates are in the process of analyzing the results. Until 1995, Business Week reported the results of its survey of 900 large companies in the "R&D Scoreboard." From 1982 to 1995, the Battelle Memorial Institute collected petroleum industry R&D information with detail by line of business and technology.

Suggestions to Improve R&D Data

Suggestions to improve national R&D survey data focused on business unit-level reporting, the integration of R&D data with other economic databases, and industry coverage.3

Targeting Surveys to the Appropriate Level

Several participants suggested that NSF conduct its R&D survey at the level of the line of business of the firm rather than at the level of the enterprise as a whole. Especially in large, multifaceted, multiproduct firms, investments in technology development and commercialization correspond more closely to particular lines of business than to companywide operations. Furthermore, corporate managers at the unit level are more familiar with the level of spending and char-



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