In late 2019 the OECD concluded an agreement with the Fondation IPSEN, which would provide financial support to work on artificial intelligence (AI) and the productivity of science. The context was one in which some scholars had argued that the productivity of science may be stagnating, or even in decline. One aim of the project was to update and significantly expand previous work on AI in science conducted under the aegis of the Committee on Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP). This prior work included a chapter in the 2018 edition of the OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook, titled “Artificial intelligence and machine learning in science”. A session on the growing importance of AI in science was also organised on 23 February 2022 the second OECD AI WIPS Conference.

The first output of the project was a workshop – “AI and the Productivity of Science” – held from 29 October to 5 November 2021. The workshop gathered over 80 leading experts to explore topics highlighted in this book. The workshop was filmed and can be viewed here A project update was discussed at the 120th Session of the CSTP on 6-7 April 2022.

Analysis of numerous issues underpinning a discussion of policies for AI in science necessarily draws on prior CSTP examinations of topics bearing on data-intensive science. These topics include, among others:

Many of the issues raised in this publication are also relevant to CSTP’s current and upcoming work streams, especially in connection with the role of science and technology in sustainable transitions, as well as technology governance, skills, and citizen engagement in science.

Work on AI in science is one among a wide set of AI-related topics being examined by the OECD, overviews of which can be found at the OECD AI Policy Observatory.

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