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build an internal capacity to resolve the methodologic issues related to collecting innovation-related data.

  • Ensure the collection of information needed to construct data series of federal science and technology (FS&T).23 NSF needs to continue to collect the additional data items that are readily available in the defense agencies and expand collection of civilian data that would permit users to construct data series on FS&T expenditures in the same manner as the FS&T presentation in the president’s budget documentation.

  • Overhaul the field-of-science classification system to take account of changes in academic research, including interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research.24 It has been some three decades since the field-of-science classification system has been updated, and the current classification structure no longer adequately reflects the state of science and engineering fields. The Office of Management and Budget needs to initiate a review of the Classification of Fields of Science and Engineering, last published as Directive 16 in 1978. The SRS could serve as the lead agency for an effort that must be conducted on a governmentwide basis. NSF should engage in a program of outreach to the disciplines to begin to develop a standard concept of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research, and on an experimental basis it should initiate a program to collect information from a subset of academic and research institutions.

  • Redesign NSF’s industrial R&D survey.25 The redesign should begin by assessing the US survey against the international “standard”—the definitions promulgated through the Frascati Manual from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The redesign also should update the industry questionnaire to facilitate an understanding of new and emerging R&D issues, enhance the program of data analysis and publication, revise the sample to enhance coverage of growing sectors, and improve the collection procedures to better involve and educate the respondents.

  • Ensure that research and innovation survey programs, such as NSF’s R&D survey, incorporate emerging, high-growth, technology-intensive industries, such as telecommunications and biotechnology, and industries across the service sector—financial services, transportation, and retailing, and others.26 Also, survey programs should collect information at the business-unit level of corporate activity rather than on a firm as a whole, and geographic location detail should be collected.








National Research Council, Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy. Industrial Research and Innovation Indicators. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.

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