Science, technology and innovation indicators are an international measure, analysis and comparison tool to support the comprehension and evolution of R&D activities and innovation systems. Furthermore, provide valuable and strategic statistical data for technology intelligence.

S&T Indicators Types

Indicators provide information for reality interpretation and allow progress evaluation, helping to understand and detect patterns behaviour and identify future trends, thus guiding informed decision-making. Any process without indicators is ineffective in any context.

For innovation management, science, technology and innovation indicators provide essential strategic statistical data for both formulations of public policies and investment in R&D. Therefore, before choosing which Science and Technology (S&T) indicators use for each kind of project, it is important to review the indicator types available, moreover because they are in constant evolution. The most relevant for science, research and innovation are:

  • Context indicators, such as R&D policies and investment (public and private) or technology markets evolution, among others.
  • Science and Technology indicators.
  • Patent indicators.
  • Innovation indicators.
  • Bibliometric indicators.
  • Indicators on R&D talent.
  • Indicators on scientific culture and engagement.
  • Indicators on university-industry cooperation.
  • Indicators on entrepreneurship.
  • Indicators on training and mobility.

In addition, apart from S&T indicators, it is important to check international methodological manuals and guidelines and take advantage of open data platforms produced by international organisations.

Why explore S&T indicators?

The KPI (Key Performance Indicators) are essential to evaluate any management activity success or efficiency. More and more organisations need to feed balanced scorecards, to stay up to date on the internal and external environment.

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 socio-economic context changes and the market environment. Furthermore, S&T indicators usually are structured data therefore fundamental information sources for monitoring intelligence systems.

Indicators producers

The main organisations dedicated to the production of science, technology and innovation indicators have international, regional and national scopes:

Regarding national S&T Indicators, some countries have developed specialized national observatories, such as:

Systems and Tools

The present-day data development is allowing access to new specialised tools for retrieval information from open sources, such as open data, and even big data. Thus, science, technology and innovation indicators are an important source of information for strategic intelligence. Apart from R&D indicators, many countries offer open data, information resources and tools such as:

In #MoocVT, you will find a #Open_tools section, where to find out more about specialised tools for technology monitoring and intelligence, as well as resources and exercises to take advantage of information value.

ST&I Manuals

The science, technology and innovation manuals offer methodological guidelines to understand the informative value of S&T indicators and to help to compile statistics. Manuals are elaborated by international reference institutions, such as:

All of them provide guidelines to harmonise and standardise methodologies, guaranteeing both the validity of statistical data and its international comparison. Regarding technology intelligence, indicators and manuals provide information to R&D evaluation policies and support innovation strategies.