Capturing Change in Science, Technology, and Innovation

New from the National Academies Press:

Capturing Change in Science, Technology, and Innovation:  Improving Indicators to Inform Policy

Since the 1950s, under congressional mandate, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) – through its National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) and predecessor agencies – has produced regularly updated measures of research and development expenditures, employment and training in science and engineering, and other indicators of the state of U.S. science and technology. A more recent focus has been on measuring innovation in the corporate sector. NCSES collects its own data on science, technology, and innovation (STI) activities and also incorporates data from other agencies to produce indicators that are used for monitoring purposes – including comparisons among sectors, regions, and with other countries – and for identifying trends that may require policy attention and generate research needs. NCSES also provides extensive tabulations and microdata files for in-depth analysis.

Capturing Change in Science, Technology, and Innovation assesses and provides recommendations regarding the need for revised, refocused, and newly developed indicators of STI activities that would enable NCSES to respond to changing policy concerns. This report also identifies and assesses both existing and potential data resources and tools that NCSES could exploit to further develop its indicators program. Finally, the report considers strategic pathways for NCSES to move forward with an improved STI indicators program. The recommendations offered in Capturing Change in Science, Technology, and Innovation are intended to serve as the basis for a strategic program of work that will enhance NCSES’s ability to produce indicators that capture change in science, technology, and innovation to inform policy and optimally meet the needs of its user community.

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