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Suggested Citation:"6 Conclusion." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2000. Experiments in International Benchmarking of US Research Fields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9784.
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6
CONCLUSION

On the basis of experiments in mathematics, immunology, and materials science and engineering, COSEPUP concludes that international benchmarking by panels of experts can provide an efficient and reasonably objective means of assessing the world leadership status of the United States in research fields.

The committee suggests further that such assessments can be completed in a timely fashion and at reasonable cost. Such a technique might be useful to policy-makers and federal agencies in evaluating their leadership status in research programs (for example, to comply with the GPRA).

In summary, benchmarking seems well suited to

  • Assessing whether US researchers in a field are among or behind the world leaders or are the world leader and determining the leadership status of the United States in particular subfields.

  • Identifying institutional and human-resources factors that are crucial to maintaining leadership status in a field.

Suggested Citation:"6 Conclusion." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2000. Experiments in International Benchmarking of US Research Fields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9784.
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Suggested Citation:"6 Conclusion." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2000. Experiments in International Benchmarking of US Research Fields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9784.
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Page 27
Suggested Citation:"6 Conclusion." National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2000. Experiments in International Benchmarking of US Research Fields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9784.
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Page 28
Next: Appendix A: Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy: Member and Staff Biographical Information »
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How can the federal government gauge the overall health of scientific research--as a whole and in its parts--and determine whether national funding adequately supports national research objectives? It is feasible to monitor US performance with field-by-field peer assessments. This might be done through the establishment of independent panels consisting of researchers who work in a field, individuals who work in closely related fields, and research "users" who follow the field closely. Some of these individuals should be outstanding foreign scientists in the field being examined. This technique of comparative international assessments is also known as international benchmarking.

Experiments in International Benchmarking of U.S. Research Fields evaluates the feasibility and utility of the benchmarking technique. In order to do this, the report internationally benchmarks three fields: mathematics, immunology, and materials science and engineering, then summarizes the results of these experiments.

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