- Financial Resources for Academic R&D
- Doctoral Scientists and Engineers in Academia
- Outputs of S&E Research: Articles and Patents
Financial Resources for Academic R&D
Data Sources for Financial Resources for Academic R&D
The data used to describe financial and infrastructure resources for academic R&D are derived from four National Science Foundation (NSF) surveys. These surveys use similar but not always identical definitions, and the nature of the respondents also differs across the surveys. The four main surveys are as follows:
- Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development
- Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions
- Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges
- Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities
The first two surveys collect data from federal agencies, whereas the last two collect data from universities and colleges. (For descriptions of the methodologies of the NSF surveys, see NSF/SRS 1995a, b and the Division of Science Resources Statistics website, http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/.)
Data presented in the context section, "Academic R&D Within the National R&D Enterprise," are derived from special tabulations that aggregate NSF survey data on the various sectors of the U.S. economy so that the components of the overall R&D effort are placed in a national context. These data are reported on a calendar-year basis, and the data for 2005 and 2006 are preliminary. Since 1998, these data also attempt to eliminate double counting in the academic sector by subtracting current fund expenditures for separately budgeted S&E R&D that do not remain in the institution reporting them but are passed through to other institutions via subcontracts and similar collaborative research arrangements. Data in subsequent sections are reported on a fiscal-year basis and do not net out the funds passed through to other institutions, and therefore differ from those reported in this section. Data on major funding sources, funding by institution type, distribution of R&D funds across academic institutions, and expenditures by field and funding source are from the Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges. For various methodological reasons, parallel data by field from the NSF Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development do not necessarily match these numbers.
The data in the "Federal Support of Academic R&D" section come primarily from NSF’s Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development. This survey collects data on R&D obligations from 30 federal agencies. Data for FY 2006 and FY 2007 are preliminary estimates. The amounts reported for FY 2006 and FY 2007 are based on administration budget proposals and do not necessarily represent actual appropriations. Data on federal obligations by S&E field are available only through FY 2005. They refer only to research (basic and applied) rather than to research plus development.
The data in the section "Spreading Institutional Base of Federally Funded Academic R&D" are drawn from NSF’s Survey of Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions. This survey collects data on federal R&D obligations to individual U.S. universities and colleges from the approximately 18 federal agencies that account for virtually all such obligations. For various methodological reasons, data reported in this survey do not necessarily match those reported in the Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges.
Data on research equipment are taken from the Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges. Data on research facilities and cyberinfrastructure are taken from the Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities. These two surveys do not cover the same populations. The minimum threshold for inclusion in the expenditures survey is $150,000 in expenditures, whereas the minimum threshold for inclusion in the facilities survey is $1 million. The facilities survey was redesigned for FY 2003 implementation and its topics broadened to include computing and networking capacity as well as research facilities. Data reported on various characteristics of research space are imputed for item nonresponse and weighted to national estimates for unit nonresponse. The data reported on networking and information technology planning are not imputed or weighted. Although terms are defined specifically in each survey, in general, facilities expenditures are classified as capital funds, are fixed items such as buildings, often cost millions of dollars, and are not included within R&D expenditures as reported here. Research equipment and instruments (the terms are used interchangeably in this chapter) are purchased with current funds (those in the yearly operating budget for ongoing activities) and included within R&D expenditures. Because donated research equipment is not typically captured in university accounting systems, the value of donated research equipment is not reported. Because the categories are not mutually exclusive, some large instrument systems could be classified as either facilities or equipment. Generally, academic institutions keep separate accounts for current and capital funds.
Beginning in 2003, the Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges has reported information at the institutional level on non-S&E R&D expenditures in addition to expenditures on S&E R&D. In 2003, 82% of the survey respondents provided data on R&D expenditures by non-S&E field, reporting a total of $1.4 billion in non-S&E R&D expenditures. In 2004, a slightly higher percentage of institutions provided data (85%), and the reported amount of non-S&E R&D expenditures increased to $1.6 billion. In 2005, the percentage of institutions providing these data increased to 94% and the reported amount of non-S&E R&D expenditures increased to $1.8 billion. Finally, 96% of institutions reported non-S&E R&D expenditures in 2006 totaling $1.9 billion
EPSCoR: The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
EPSCoR, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, is based on the premise that universities and their S&E faculty and students are valuable resources that can potentially influence a state’s development in the 21st century in much the same way that agricultural, industrial, and natural resources did in the 20th century.
EPSCoR originated as a response to a number of stated federal objectives. Section 3(e) of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended, states that "it shall be an objective of the Foundation to strengthen research and education in the sciences and engineering, including independent research by individuals, throughout the United States, and to avoid undue concentration of such research and education." Even earlier, the 1947 Steelman report, Science and Public Policy, in discussing the formation of NSF, stated "it is clear that a portion of the funds expended by the National Science Foundation should be used to strengthen the weaker, but promising, colleges and universities, and thus to increase our total scientific potential" (emphasis added).
But EPSCoR did not officially begin at NSF until 1978, when Congress authorized the agency to conduct EPSCoR in response to broad public concerns about the extent of geographical concentration of federal funding of R&D. Eligibility for EPSCoR participation was limited to those jurisdictions that have historically received lesser amounts of federal R&D funding and have demonstrated a commitment to develop their research bases and to improve the quality of S&E research conducted at their universities and colleges.
The success of the NSF EPSCoR programs during the 1980s subsequently prompted the creation of EPSCoR and EPSCoR-like programs in six other federal agencies: the Departments of Energy, Defense, and Agriculture; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the National Institutes of Health; and the Environmental Protection Agency. In FY 1993, congressional direction precipitated the formation of the EPSCoR Interagency Coordinating Committee (EICC). A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by officials of the seven agencies with EPSCoR or EPSCoR-like programs agreeing to participate in the EICC. The major objective of the MOU focused on improving coordination among and between the federal agencies in implementing EPSCoR and EPSCoR-like programs consistent with the policies of participating agencies. The participating agencies agreed to the following objectives:
- Coordinate federal EPSCoR and EPSCoR-like programs to maximize the impact of federal support while eliminating duplication in states receiving EPSCoR support from more than one agency.
- Coordinate agency objectives with state and institutional goals, where appropriate, to obtain continued nonfederal support of science and technology (S&T) research and training.
- Coordinate the development of criteria to assess gains in academic research quality and competitiveness and in S&T human resource development.
- Furthermore, as members of the EICC, the agencies agreed to exchange information on pending legislation, agency policies, and relevant programs related to S&T research and training and, when appropriate, to provide responses on issues of common concern.
EPSCoR seeks to increase the R&D competitiveness of an eligible state through the development and utilization of the S&T resources residing in its major research universities. It strives to achieve its objective by (1) stimulating sustainable S&T infrastructure improvements at the state and institutional levels that significantly increase the ability of EPSCoR researchers to compete for federal and private sector R&D funding, and (2) accelerating the movement of EPSCoR researchers and institutions into the mainstream of federal and private sector R&D support.
In FY 2006, the seven EICC agencies spent a total of $353.4 million on EPSCoR or EPSCoR-like programs, up from $79.1 million in 1996, a more than fourfold increase
Composition of Institutional Academic R&D Funds
In 2006, academic institutions committed a substantial amount of their own resources to R&D: roughly $9.1 billion or 19% of all funding for academic R&D. The share of institutional support for academic R&D at public institutions (23%) was greater than that at private institutions (11%)
Doctoral Scientists and Engineers in Academia
Interpreting Federal Support Data
Interpretation of the data on federal support of academic researchers is complicated by a technical difficulty. Between 1993 and 1997, respondents to the Survey of Doctorate Recipients were asked whether work performed during the week of April 15 was supported by the federal government; in most other survey years, the reference was to the entire preceding year, and in 1985, it was to 1 month. However, the volume of academic research activity is not uniform over the entire academic year. A 1-week (or 1-month) reference period seriously understates the number of researchers supported over an entire year. Thus, the numbers for 1985 and 1993–97 cannot be compared directly with results for the earlier years or those from the 1999 through 2006 surveys, which again used an entire reference year.
The discussion in this edition of Indicators generally compares data for 2006 with data for 1991. All calculations express the proportion of those with federal support relative to the number responding to this question. The reader is cautioned that, given the nature of these data, the trends discussed are broadly suggestive rather than definitive. The reader also is reminded that the trends in the proportion of all academic researchers supported by federal funds occurred against a background of rising overall numbers of academic researchers.
NSF and NIH Support for Young Investigators
The share of all NSF grants awarded to new principal investigators (PIs) remained relatively constant from 2002 to 2006, at roughly 27%–28%, while the number of proposal submissions from both new and prior investigators increased and the funding rate both per PI and per proposal decreased. Although the number of new PIs awarded NSF grants remained relatively stable (about 5,300) for the past 5 years, the PI funding rate (based on any award to a PI in a 3-year period) declined, from 30% in 2000–02 to 24% in 2004–06. The number of prior PIs receiving NSF funding also remained relatively stable (about 11,300) for the past 5 years, and the PI funding rate declined, from 54% in 2000–02 to 47% in 2004–06. These success rates based on PIs are somewhat higher than success rates based on proposals, as many investigators submit multiple proposals. When funding rates are calculated based on the number of proposals submitted, the proposal success rate between 2002 and 2006 declines from 19% to 15% for new PIs and from 32% to 26% for prior PIs.
The trend at NIH was similar: the number of new investigators remained stable over time and the funding rate for both new and prior PIs declined in recent years. However, the percentage of all competing Research Project (R01) equivalent awardees who were new awardees declined from 12% in 1980 to 7% in 2005. The average age of new doctoral investigators receiving their first NIH research grant rose from 37 in 1979 to 42 in 2002 (NRC 2005). The proportion of NIH research grant recipients under age 40 dropped from 50% in 1980 to 17% in 2003. Responding to this trend, NIH created the Pathway to Independence award in 2006, which combines funding for up to 2 years of training in a postdoc position and up to 3 years for independent research as a faculty member. The hope is that these awards will be an incentive for universities and colleges to create new positions for these investigators and that the awards will help new investigators win R01 research grants (Kaiser 2006).
Outputs of S&E Research: Articles and Patents
Bibliometric Data and Terminology
The article counts, coauthorship data, and citations discussed in this section are derived from S&E articles, notes, and reviews published in a set of the world’s most influential scientific and technical journals tracked by Thomson Scientific in the Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index (http://scientific.thomson.com/products/categories/citation/). The data presented here derive from a database prepared for NSF by ipIQ, Inc., formerly CHI Research, Inc., under a license agreement. The data exclude letters to the editor, news stories, editorials, and other content whose central purpose is not the presentation or discussion of scientific data, theory, methods, apparatus, or experiments.
These data are not strictly comparable with those presented in editions prior to Science and Engineering Indicators 2004, which were based on a fixed SCI/SSCI journal set. The advantage of the "expanding" set of journals is that it better reflects the current mix of journals and articles in the world.
For each new year of data, ipIQ reviews the list of journals and updates the master journal file as necessary as new journals appear and old journals no longer appear or are incorporated into new ones. In other words, the S&E journal literature analyzed for these indicators is always evolving as research and publication evolve. The number of journals analyzed by NSF from SCI/SSCI was 4,093 in 1988 and 4,906 in 2005; over the entire period, some 6,760 journals were reflected in the data. SCI and SSCI give good coverage of a core set of internationally recognized peer-reviewed scientific journals, albeit with some English-language bias. The coverage extends to electronic journals, including print journals with electronic versions and electronic-only journals. Journals of regional or local importance may not be covered.
Except where noted, author, as used here, means departmental or institutional author. Articles are attributed to countries or sectors by the country or sector of the institutional address(es) given in the article bylines at the time of publication. If the institutional affiliation is not listed, the article would not be attributed to an institutional author and would not be included in the article counts in this chapter. Likewise, coauthorship refers to institutional coauthorship. An article is considered coauthored only if it shows different institutional affiliations or different departments of the same institution. Multiple listings of the same department of an institution are considered as one institutional author. The same logic applies to cross-sector and international collaboration.
Two methods of counting articles based on attribution are used: fractional and whole counts (Gauffriau and Larsen 2005). In fractional counting, credit for an article with authors from more than one institution or country is divided among the collaborating institutions or countries based on the proportion of their participating departments or institutions. In whole counting, each collaborating institution or country receives one credit for its participation in the article. Fractional counting is generally used for article and citation counts, and whole counting for coauthorship data.
Several changes introduced in this edition of Indicators improve the usefulness of the data discussed here but also inhibit comparison with data from the same source used in previous editions.
- Previous editions reported data based on the year an article entered the database ("tape year"), not on the year it was published ("publication year"). In this edition, data in section one only ("S&E Article Output") are reported by publication year through 2005 as contained in the 2006 database or tape year. Publication data in the remaining sections ("Coauthorship and Collaboration," "Trends in Output and Collaboration Among U.S. Sectors," and "Trends in Citation of S&E Articles") are reported by tape year as contained in the 2005 database or tape year. Tables and figures refer the reader to which data are reported.
- Breakouts of broad fields of science were adjusted to more closely align with field taxonomies used in other chapters and more commonly recognizable in other NSF/SRS databases and publications. As in previous editions, journals were assigned to 1 of 134 subfields, but these subfields were regrouped into 13 new broad fields
(appendix table 5-32). Furthermore, a group of journals in "professional fields" reported on in previous editions has been deleted altogether, resulting in slightly reduced totals overall but a more appropriate concept of science, engineering, or technology journals and articles.
- Finally, the country/economy breakouts were updated to parallel more closely discussions elsewhere in this edition
(appendix table 5-33).
Distribution of Publication Data
The publication data used in this section are characterized by many data points, of which only a small number have high value and therefore account for a significant proportion of all the data.* For example, of the 179 countries with a 2005 publication record in the database, 23 accounted for 90% of the 710,000 articles published that year
The United States produces 29% of the world total of the articles analyzed in this section, exerting a dominant influence throughout the broad indicators reported here. A middle tier of 12 countries, each of which produces between 2% and 8% of the world total, accounts for another 49% overall. Six countries, each with between 1% and 2% of the world total, account for 8% of the total. The remaining 158 countries together account for the remaining 14% of the world total. Among the lowest tier of countries in terms of total output are countries considered "mature" in S&E, such as Poland, Belgium, Israel, Singapore, and New Zealand.
In each of the sections based on publication records (outputs, international coauthorship, citation rates), an effort was made to limit the amount of data to avoid overwhelming the reader. Data cutoff points are defined where appropriate. The underlying assumption of these cutoffs is that some data may be of interest to a particular country or an academic researcher but not important to the overall world trends. Nevertheless occasional note is made to specific countries in the flat end of the distribution shown in
*Data with these properties belong to a related group of distributions collectively referred to as "power law distributions" (Adamic 2000). Such distributions have traditionally been studied in linguistics, economics, geosciences, and other fields and today commonly appear in studies of the Internet.
S&E Articles From Federally Funded Research and Development Centers
FFRDCs are research offices/laboratories sponsored by federal agencies and administered by universities, industry, or other nonprofit institutions. FFRDCs have specialized research agendas closely related to the mission of the sponsoring agency and may house large and unique research instruments not otherwise available in other research venues.
Although all of the broad fields of science considered in this chapter contain articles authored at FFRDCs, a handful of these fields dominates publication by this sector and points to their specialized research programs. Physics articles account for 40% of the FFRDC total
Nine federal agencies (the Departments of Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Transportation, and Treasury, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the National Science Foundation) sponsor some three dozen FFRDCs (NSF/SRS, 2007b), but the 16 centers sponsored by the Department of Energy dominate S&E publishing by this sector. Across all fields of S&E, DOE-sponsored labs accounted for 83% of the total for the sector in 2005. Scientists and engineers at DOE-sponsored FFRDCs published 96% of the sector’s articles in chemistry, 95% in physics, and 90% in engineering (NSF, special tabulations).