The science, technology and innovation indicators represent international measurement, analysis and comparison instruments to help the comprehension and evolution of R&D activities and innovation systems. Those provide valuable and strategic statistical data for technology intelligence.

Indicators Types

Any process without indicators is ineffective in any context. Indicators provide information that simplifies reality and allows progress evaluation, helping to understand complex phenomena, detect patterns behaviour and discover future trends, thus guiding informed decision-making. In innovation management, science, technology and innovation indicators provide essential strategic statistical data for both formulation of public policies and investment in R&D. Therefore, before choosing which R&D indicators to use in each project, it is important to review the different types available, moreover because they are in constant development. The most relevant are:

  • Context indicators, for example on R&D policies and investment (public and private) or technology marketsevolution, among others.
  • R&D activity indicators.
  • Patent indicators.
  • Innovation indicators.
  • Bibliometric indicators.
  • Indicators on R&D talent.
  • Indicators on scientific culture.
  • Indicators on university-business linkage.
  • Indicators on entrepreneurship.
  • Indicators on training and mobility.

In addition, when choosing R&D indicators, it is important to inquire international methodological manuals to guarantee the validity, measurement and comparison of these information collection instruments, so to take advantage of open data platforms.

Why monitor R&D Indicators?

The KPI (Key Performance Indicators) are essential to evaluate the success or efficiency of any management activity, so more and more organisations need to feed balanced scorecards, to stay up to date on their internal and external environment. The science, technology and innovation indicators provide data and inputs to scorecards, with which to systematically follow the organization’s environment evolution keys. Indicators data help to understand changes in the general socio-economic context and in the market environment. Furthermore, R&D indicators are structured data so a fundamental sources of information for monitoring and organisational intelligence systems. For example, to be able to identify in each case, according to the business scope, which is the most suitable R&D indicator producer and which methodological guidelines, moreover which tools are available on the Internet so to take advantage of them.

Indicators Organisations

The main specialised organisations dedicated to science, technology and innovation indicators production and dissemination have international, regional and national scopes. The main organisations are:

Regarding national R&D Indicators organisms, some countries have developed specialized national observatories, such as:

Systems and Tools

The current data revolution is allowing the extraction of the maximum informative value of information sources and access to new specialised tools, such as open access, open data, and even big data. Its application to science, technology and innovation is transforming the use of indicators as an information source for strategic intelligence. Thus, apart from R&D indicators, more and more countries offer open information resources and tools such as:

  • National information systems in science, technology and innovation.
  • Government open data platforms.

In #MoocVT you will find a #Open_tools section, where to discover more specialised tools for technology monitoring and intelligence, as well as learning resources and exercises to take advantage of informative value in the elaboration and analysis of technology products.

Manuals information value

The science, technology and innovation manuals offer methodological guidelines to understand the informative value of R&D indicators and help to compile statistics to exploit this source of information. The main Manuals are elaborated by the international reference institution, such as:

All of them provide concepts guidelines to harmonise and standardise methodologies, guaranteeing both the validity of obtaining statistical data and the production of validated and internationally comparable indicators. Regarding technology intelligence, they provide information to R&D evaluation policies and help to define innovation strategies.