U.S. Industrial R&D: NSF Announces New Information Retrieval System and Historical Database
A new information system makes all of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) historical data on industrial research and development (R&D) funding easily available on-line. The Industrial Research and Development Information System (IRIS) can be found on the NSF website at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/iris/. The system provides access to information on industrial R&D performance across a broad range of years and criteria.
IRIS links an on-line interface to a historical database, the Survey of Industrial Research and Development Historical Database 19531998. The historical database contains more than 2,500 statistical tables, and contains all the industrial R&D data published by NSF since 1953. The data are drawn from NSF's annual Survey of Industrial Research and Development, the primary source for national-level data on U.S. industrial R&D.
The data can be used to assess trends in U.S. R&D performance from a variety of perspectives. For example, in the database, R&D expenditures are measured as a percentage of company sales and by:
The database contains breakdowns of R&D expenditures across a number of categories. For example:
The database also provides information on the number of scientists and engineers engaged in industrial R&D and the associated personnel costs.
In addition to information about the survey, detailed help files, a glossary of terms, and links to related NSF publications, the welcome screen offers three main access options. Each of these options provides a different view of the vast amount of R&D data contained in the database.
Browse Tables by Survey Year opens a list of the historical publications derived from the individual surveys, in descending order from the most recent (1998) to the earliest (19531954) years available (figure 1).
Browse Tables by Table Topic opens a list of statistical tables that cover that topic across all available data years (figure 3). Clicking on an individual table in that list will download that table in spreadsheet form.
Search for Data Tables opens a list of all the measures available in the database (figure 4). Each of the statistical tables is categorized by its measures and dimensions. Measures are the numeric variables (e.g., total R&D funding, or number of full-time equivalent R&D scientists and engineers) for which statistics were collected. Dimensions are the breakdowns (e.g., industry, company size class, or State) by which the collected statistics were categorized and tallied.
The measures on this list are organized by broad areas. For example:
Also available is a time series option that will display estimates, in a continuous series, for selected survey items for all available years. Clicking on an individual table in that list will download that table in spreadsheet form.
These are just some of the ways the IRIS and historical database may be used to view and display important information about industrial R&D activities. With improved access to this major body of statistical data, policymakers and researchers have a powerful tool to study the very significant industrial component of the research and development enterprise in the United States.
Annual reports and the latest statistics from the Survey of Industrial Research and Development are available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/industry/. Questions about this Data Brief, the Survey of Industrial Research and Development, the Industrial Research and Development Information System, and the Survey of Industrial Research and Development Historical Database 19531998 should be directed to:
[*] IRIS was developed under contract for NSF by QRC Division of Macro International, Inc., with Raymond Wolfe as the NSF project officer. Responsible QRC staff included Sean Teehan, Jenifer Maroon, and Cindy Young-Turner, under the direction of George Nozicka.