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Definitions of Research and Development.
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Definitions of Research and Development:
An Annotated Compilation of Official Sources


This special publication provides definitions of research and development (R&D) from several official U.S. and international organizations. The document is designed as a reference for researchers and other users of data on R&D expenditures. In addition to definitions from National Science Foundation (NSF) surveys on R&D expenditures, the document includes definitions from regulatory, Federal procurement, and accounting sources. International sources include manuals from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the System of National Accounts.

U.S. definitions are organized by individual sectors that perform or fund R&D—namely, businesses (section 1), Federal agencies (section 2), and academic and nonprofit organizations (section 3). Separately, section 4 presents R&D definitions from international manuals.

Each section is preceded by brief introductory material (description). R&D definitions are provided unedited as they appear in their original sources; there are no cross-source or cross-sector comparisons. The definitions were downloaded December 2004. Lastly, the additional resources list includes sources for further research on R&D definitions and related measurement issues.

For more information, contact:

Francisco Moris
Research and Development Statistics Program
Division of Science Resources Statistics
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965
Arlington, VA 22230


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