The Measurement of Scientific, Technological and Innovation Activities

2413-2764 (online)
2413-2756 (print)
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This series presents internationally-agreed methodological guidelines and proposals for the collection, reporting and use of data and indicators on science, technology and innovation (STI). This series of statistical manuals is popularly known as the "Frascati family" of manuals, by reference to the Italian town where the first of these manuals was agreed in 1962 by the OECD Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators. Manuals in this series, comprising other topics such as the measurement of inventions, innovation activities or STI-related human resources, are periodically revised to take into account new challenges and developments in respective areas. The scope of the series will also continually expand in line with developments in the field.

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Frascati Manual 2015

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Frascati Manual 2015

Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development You or your institution have access to this content

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08 Oct 2015
9789264262089 (EPUB) ; 9789264239012 (PDF) ;9789264238800(print)

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The internationally recognised methodology for collecting and using R&D statistics, the OECD's Frascati Manual is an essential tool for statisticians  and science and innovation policy makers worldwide. It includes definitions of basic concepts, data collection guidelines, and classifications for compiling R&D statistics.  This updated edition contains improved guidelines reflecting recent changes in the way R&D takes place and is funded and the wider use of R&D statistics and definitions. It provides new chapters dedicated to the pratical aspects of collecting R&D data in different sectors, as well as new guidance on capturing different aspects of public support for R&D such as tax incentives.

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  • Foreword

    Understanding how knowledge creation and dissemination contributes to economic growth and societal wellbeing requires a sound evidence base. Throughout history, the outcomes from research and development (R&D) have transformed people’s lives and societies in multiple ways, as well as the natural environment we are part of. This realisation has created a sustained demand among policy analysts and decision makers for documenting the level and nature of both human and financial resources that different countries, regions, firms and institutions devote to such endeavour, as a first step towards learning how to direct them towards desired objectives. Supporting this evidence need through internationally comparable statistics and a common language is the main objective of this manual.

  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Introduction to R&D statistics and the Frascati Manual

    The Frascati Manual has been an international standard for more than fifty years and it is now a world standard. The use of research and experimental development (R&D) statistics, based on the guidance in the manual, has gained influence and the statistics are being used in a wide range of policy areas, and in many countries outside of the OECD. The manual provides the basis for a common language for talking about R&D and its outcomes. In keeping with the extensive use of the manual, and the presence of its definitions in other international manuals and in country regulations, the definition of R&D and its components have been kept close to those in previous editions. More attention has been spent on identifying boundaries between what is and what is not R&D and on meeting new demands on R&D statistics. An example is the decision to treat expenditure on R&D as a capital investment in the System of National Accounts (SNA) and this has required greater attention to the flows of funds for R&D. Tax incentives for R&D performance are widespread and a chapter has been added to cover this. A new chapter has been added to address globalisation and its implications for R&D statistics. To remain current, extensive use is made of online annexes. This chapter introduces the manual.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Defining and measuring R&D: General guidance

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    • Concepts and definitions for identifying R&D

      This chapter provides the definition of research and experimental development (R&D) and of its components, basic research, applied research and experimental development. These definitions are essentially unchanged from those in previous editions of the manual. Where there are differences, they reflect changes in culture and the use of language. To provide guidance on what is and what is not an R&D activity, five criteria are provided which require the activity to be novel, creative, uncertain in it outcome, systematic and transferable and/or reproducible. Since the last edition, the treatment of R&D expenditure in the System of National Accounts (SNA) has changed from an expense to a capital investment. As a result, the language of this manual, and of the SNA, is closer and there are additional requirements for measurements of financial flows. While the manual has always applied to all scientific disciplines, there is more emphasis on the social sciences, humanities and the arts, in addition to the natural sciences and engineering. Measuring R&D activities through surveys, administrative data, or interviews raises questions about boundaries and what is and what is not included and this chapter provides examples to help answer those questions. The manual is used to interpret R&D data as part of policy development and evaluation, but the focus of this chapter is on definitions for measurement purposes.

    • Institutional sectors and classifications for R&D statistics

      This chapter considers institutions that perform or fund research and experimental development (R&D) and identifies their shared characteristics. These characteristics are used to group institutions into sectors, which are then used for the presentation of statistics on R&D. The chapter draws upon the approach of the System of National Accounts (SNA) to identify five sectors, Business enterprise, Higher education, Government, Private non-profit, and, for funding purposes only, the Rest of the World, (formerly referred to as Abroad). While four of the sectors can be related to those of the SNA, the Higher education sector, because of its policy relevance, is unique to this manual and is made up of institutions that can be in any of the SNA sectors. While there are chapters in the manual devoted to each sector, this chapter discusses the features of each sector and the boundaries that separate them.

    • Measurement of R&D expenditures: Performance and sources of funds

      This chapter discusses the measurement of expenditure on the performance of research and experimental development (R&D), the sources of funds for the performance of R&D and expenditures for R&D performed in other statistical units. The measurement of gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD), which covers all expenditures for R&D performed in the economy during a specific reference period is the principal R&D indicator at country level. GERD, and the GERD/GDP ratio, are used for international comparisons. The chapter discusses the measurement of expenditures and flows in each of the four sectors of the manual where R&D is performed, Business enterprise, Government, Higher education and Private non-profit, and the flow of funds from the Rest of the world sector for the performance of R&D in the other four sectors. With the decision to treat the expenditure on the performance of R&D as a capital investment in the System of National Accounts (SNA), and the need for better statistics on the globalisation of R&D, more information is needed and guidance is provided on what to collect. There is also discussion of the use of the statistics, of which the GERD/GDP ratio is an example, as is the estimation of the capital investment in R&D in the SNA. There is also the need to be able to analyse data at the level of the individual statistical unit in order to have a better understanding of the dynamics of R&D performance and funding.

    • Measurement of R&D personnel: Persons employed and external contributors

      This chapter provides guidance on defining, identifying and measuring research and experimental development (R&D) personnel, the people who perform R&D, the highly trained scientists and engineers (researchers), technicians with high levels of technical experience and training, and supporting staff who contribute directly to carrying out R&D projects and activities in R&D-performing statistical units. A distinction is made between internal R&D personnel, those employed by the statistical unit, and external R&D personnel. The activities that characterise R&D personnel are listed. Definitions are provided for R&D personnel, external R&D personnel, researchers, technicians and equivalent staff, other supporting staff, full-time equivalent (FTE) of R&D personnel, and the headcount (HC) of R&D personnel. The role of doctorate and master’s students as R&D personnel is discussed. Examples are provided to assist in making decisions about who are to be included as R&D personnel and who not. The resulting statistics on the number, availability and demographic characteristics of human resources that contribute to R&D activities are used by researchers and by policy makers concerned with the sustainability of the R&D enterprise.

    • Measuring R&D: Methodologies and procedures

      This chapter discusses how to measure research and experimental development (R&D) activity, noting that is highly concentrated, specially in the Business enterprise sector, but it is also widely spread across the economy. These characteristics give rise to measurement challenges as do the disparate uses of R&D statistics. These include the use of aggregate statistics for policy analysis, policy evaluation and target setting, the use of R&D expenditures as input to a capital stock of R&D in the System of National Accounts (SNA), and unit level analysis of R&D activity. Measurement, whether through surveys, the use of administrative data, or combinations of the two, requires a statistical infrastructure including registers of institutions, methodological support, means of linking data sets to enhance analytical capacity, and quality assurance standards. All of these are discussed, but, recognising that countries have quite different infrastructures and measurement challenges no specific formal recommendations are made. Sources are provided to support the development of statistical measurement.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Measuring R&D: Sector-specific guidance

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    • Business enterprise R&D

      This chapter provides guidance on the measurement of research and experimental development (R&D) performed in the Business enterprise sector, the sources of funding, breakdowns of the statistics by main economic activity, employment size of the business enterprise and geography. The indicators of R&D activity for the sector include R&D expenditure, R&D personnel, sources of R&D funds, the distribution of the R&D by basic research, applied research and experimental development. There is a discussion of breaking down the statistics by the industry orientation (the product field or the industry served) and why this should be considered. Distributions by fields of R&D (FORD), by socioeconomic objectives, geographic location and by specific technology areas are discussed. The chapter ends with a review of survey design, data collection and estimation in the sector. The resulting statistics support policy discussion related to dominant and emerging industries, concentration of R&D in regions, industries and enterprises, and the industry served by R&D performed by enterprises in the sector.

    • Government R&D

      This chapter provides guidance on the measurement of financial and human resources for research and experimental development (R&D) performed in the Government sector. It also deals with the Government sector as a funder of R&D and links to work in on government budget allocations for R&D (GBARD) and on government tax relief for R&D (GTARD). The chapter draws upon the System of National Accounts (SNA) for the description of the Government sector which not only includes governments, but non-profit institutions controlled by government. It describes approches for measuring government intramural R&D expenditure (GOVERD), the functional distribution of R&D by types of costs follows the recommendations in , but raises specific cases for attention. Distribution of GOVERD by source of funds, by type of R&D, field of R&D, technology area, socioeconomic objectives, functions of government and geographic location are discussed. Guidance is provided on the measurement of R&D personnel in the Government sector. Finally there is an overview of issues arising in the measurement of government funding of R&D from the perspective of the funder.

    • Higher education R&D

      The Higher education sector, because of its policy relevance, is unique to the manual and has no counterpart in the System of National Accounts (SNA). This chapter defines the Higher education sector and in doing this, draws upon existing definitions of tertiary education programmes, and of formal education. As the objective of the definition is to capture all research and experimental development (R&D) activity in the sector, the definition includes all research institutes, centres, experimental stations and clinics that have their R&D activities under the direct control of, or administered by, tertiary education institutions. The Higher education sector differs across countries so the first task is to identify the institutions belonging to the sector and then to collect and report the R&D statistics in such a way as to support international comparison. The chapter provides guidance on identifying institutions in the sector and on measuring R&D expenditures, flows between institutions within and external to the sector and the human resources committed to R&D in the sector.

    • Private non-profit R&D

      Institutional units within the Private non-profit sector historically have played a significant role in R&D activities in many countries. Non-profit institutions (NPIs) can be identified and classified in all sectors; they can be either market producers or non-market producers; and they include both performers and funders of R&D. This chapter outlines which NPIs should be considered for measurement in the PNP sector, and it gives guidelines on the measurement of their R&D activities, taking into account their particular characteristics as well as emerging trends with respect to new forms of R&D funding. The sector is residual, in that NPIs not classified to business enterprise, government or higher education are classified to the Private non-profit sector. The sector also includes, for completeness, households and private individuals engaged or not in market activities. The chapter provides guidance on the institutional classifications by main economic activity, the measurement of R&D expenditures and personnel in the sector and there is a discussion of survey design and data collection in the sector. There is also a brief discussion, new to the manual, of the role of philanthropists and of crowdfunding and the implications for measurement.

    • Measurement of R&D globalisation

      This chapter goes beyond previous discussions of ‘Abroad’, now referred to as the Rest of the world, which treated the sector primarily as a source of funds for domestic research and experimental development (R&D) performance (as in GERD), or as a destination for national sources of funds (as in GNERD). The chapter provides a definition of the Rest of the world consistent with the approach of the System of National Accounts (SNA). Globalisation in this chapter refers to the international integration of financing, factor supply, R&D, production and the trade in goods and services. In the Business enterprise sector, globalisation is associated with international trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), whereas public or private non-profit institutions (including government and higher education units) also engage in international activities such as R&D funding and collaboration. R&D globalisation is a subset of global activities involving the funding, performance, transfer and use of R&D. The chapter deals with indicators of R&D globalisation for both business and non-business sectors.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Measuring government support for R&D

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    • Government budget allocations for R&D

      This chapter presents an approach for measuring government funding of R&D using data from government budgets. This type of funder-based approach for reporting R&D involves identifying all the budget items that may support R&D activities and measuring or estimating their R&D content. Advantages of this approach include the ability both to report significantly more timely government R&D funding totals since they are based on budgets and to link these totals to policy considerations through classification by socioeconomic objectives.The definitions discussed in this chapter are, as far as possible, compatible with the international methodologies and guidelines contained in the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Manual (GFS) of 2014 and the 2008 System of National Accounts, as well as the methodologies developed by Eurostat such as the Nomenclature for the Analysis and Comparison of Scientific Programmes and Budgets (NABS).

    • Measurement of government tax relief for R&D

      Governments in several countries provide tax support for R&D with the aim of promoting R&D investment in the economy by granting preferential tax treatment of eligible R&D expenditures, especially to business enterprises. Tax expenditures are complex objects of measurement, and not all statistical systems separately capture all types of tax relief measures. Reporting such tax support in supplementary reports would facilitate transparency and more balanced international comparisons. In response to user and practitioner interest in addressing this gap in previous editions of this manual, this chapter provides guidelines on reporting government support for R&D through tax incentives, with a view to assisting in the production of internationally comparable indicators of Government Tax Relief for R&D expenditures. These guidelines are based on the experience accumulated from a series of exploratory data collections carried out by OECD. Because of the novelty of the guidelines introduced in this chapter, further measurement improvements may be introduced after the publication of this manual.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Annexes

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    • Brief History and Origins of the Present Manual

      This annex provides a summary account of the six previous editions up to the current version of the Frascati Manual. It also acknowledges the contributions of the key individuals who helped make this a globally adopted standard. Those readers interested in consulting the original documents can find those on the manual’s website (

    • Glossary of terms

      Accounting on an accruals basis recognises a transaction when the activity (decision) generating revenue or consuming resources takes place, regardless of when the associated cash is received or paid. See also accounting on a cash basis.

    • Index
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