Recent data on the financial and infrastructure resources supporting U.S. academic R&D are drawn from two ongoing National Science Foundation (NSF) surveys, the annual Higher Education Research and Development Survey (HERD) and the Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities.
Data on current operating expenditures for academic R&D are derived from HERD and its predecessor, NSF’s Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges, which covered the period from 1972 to 2009. The survey population for the predecessor survey comprised academic institutions that granted a bachelor’s degree or a higher degree in S&E fields and spent at least $150,000 annually on separately budgeted S&E R&D.
HERD updated data collection to reflect current accounting principles that provide more valid and reliable measurements of the amount of U.S. academic R&D expenditures. Data from the revised and expanded survey cover expenditures starting with academic FY 2010. The survey population is made up of academic institutions that grant a bachelor’s degree or a higher degree in any field and spend at least $150,000 annually on all separately budgeted R&D.
Like its predecessor, HERD captures comparable information on R&D expenditures by sources of funding and field, which allows for continued trend analysis. It also includes a more comprehensive treatment of S&E and non-S&E fields, an expanded population of surveyed institutions, and greater detail about the sources of funding for R&D expenditures by field. Improvements in the redesigned survey are more fully described in Britt (2010).
As did its predecessor, HERD captures data on moveable research equipment purchased from current operating funds. Fixed equipment and capital construction projects are not included in the R&D expenditure totals.
HERD data are in current-year dollars and reported on an academic-year basis (e.g., FY 2012 covers July 2011–June 2012 for most institutions).
Data on federal obligations for academic R&D are reported in chapter 4; that chapter also provides data on the academic sector’s share of the nation’s overall R&D.
The data on research facilities and cyberinfrastructure come from the Survey of Science and Engineering Research Facilities. The facilities survey includes all universities and colleges in HERD with $1 million or more in R&D expenditures. Starting in 2003, the facilities survey included data on computing and networking capacities.
In 2010, the Committee on Research Universities of the National Academies’ National Research Council (NRC) undertook a 2-year effort to examine the health and competitiveness of the nation’s research universities and assess their capacity to compete globally. Prompted by a request from a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen, the NRC study Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security (NRC 2012) emphasized the importance of partnerships among institutions involved in research, efficiency and productivity in research operations, and efforts to cultivate research talent.
The NRC report gave the following recommendations:
The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is based on the premise that universities and their S&E faculty and students are valuable resources that potentially can 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’s purposes and early history are rooted in the early history of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and federal support of R&D. In 1978, Congress authorized NSF to initiate EPSCoR in response to broad public concerns about the extent of geographical concentration of federal funding for R&D. Eligibility for EPSCoR participation was limited to those jurisdictions that historically have received lesser amounts of federal R&D funding and have demonstrated a commitment to develop their research bases and improve the quality of S&E research conducted at their universities and colleges. EPSCoR sought to increase the R&D competitiveness of eligible states through the development and utilization of the science and technology (S&T) resources residing in their most research-oriented universities. The program sought to achieve this objective by (1) stimulating sustainable S&T infrastructure improvements at the state and institutional levels that would 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.
The experience of the NSF EPSCoR program during the 1980s prompted Congress to authorize the creation of EPSCoR and EPSCoR-like programs in six other federal agencies: the Departments of Energy, Defense (DOD), and Agriculture; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the National Institutes of Health; and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Two of these, EPA and DOD, discontinued issuing separate EPSCoR program solicitations in FY 2006 and FY 2010, respectively.
In FY 2012, the five remaining agencies spent a total of $483.8 million on EPSCoR and EPSCoR-like programs, up from $225.3 million in 2001 (table
A postdoctorate (postdoc) is a temporary position in academia, industry, a nonprofit organization, or government that is taken after the completion of a doctorate. It serves as a period of apprenticeship for the purpose of gaining scientific, technical, and professional skills. Ideally, the individual employed in a postdoc position gains these skills under the guidance of an adviser, with the administrative and infrastructural support of a host institution, and with the financial support of a funding organization. However, the conditions of postdoc employment vary widely between academic and non-academic settings, across disciplines, and even within institutions, and formal job titles are an unreliable guide to actual work roles.
Postdoctoral researchers have become indispensable to the S&E enterprise and perform a substantial portion of the nation’s research. Most have recently earned their doctoral degree, and so they bring a new set of techniques and perspectives that broadens their research teams’ experience and makes them more competitive for additional research funding. In addition to conducting research, postdoctoral researchers also educate, train, and supervise undergraduate students engaged in research; help write grant proposals and papers; and present research results at professional society meetings (COSEPUP 2000).
The article counts, coauthorships, and citations discussed in this section are derived from S&E articles, notes, and reviews published in a set of scientific and technical journals tracked by the Science Unit of Thomson Reuters in the Science Citation Index (SCI) and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) (http://www.thomsonreuters.com/business_units/scientific/). Journal items excluded are letters to the editor, news stories, editorials, and other material whose purpose is not the presentation or discussion of scientific data, theory, methods, apparatus, or experiments.
Journal selection. This section uses a changing set of journals that reflects the current mix of journals and articles in the world. Thomson Reuters selects journals each year as described at http://www.thomsonreuters.com/products_services/science/free/essays/journal_selection_process/, and the selected journals become part of SCI and SSCI. The journals selected are notable for their relatively high citation rank within their S&E subfields; journals of only regional interest are excluded.
The number of journals analyzed by the National Science Foundation from SCI and SSCI was 4,093 in 1988 and 5,087 in 2012, an annual growth rate slightly less than 1.0%. These journals give good coverage of a core set of internationally recognized, peer-reviewed scientific journals. The coverage includes electronic-only journals and print journals with electronic versions. In the period 1988–2012, the database contained 16 million S&E articles, notes, and reviews. Over the same period, the average number of articles, notes, and reviews per journal per year increased from about 111 to 168, an annual growth rate of about 1.7%.
Article data. Except where noted, author 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 articles, not by the national origins or the citizenship of the authoring scientists or engineers. If no institutional affiliation is listed, the article is excluded from the 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 one institutional author. The same logic applies to cross-sector and international collaboration.
Two methods of counting articles are used: fractional and whole counts. Fractional counting is used for article and citation counts. In fractional counting, credit for coauthored articles is divided among the collaborating institutions or countries based on the proportion of their participating departments or institutions. Whole counting is used for coauthorship data. In whole counting, each institution or country receives one credit for its participation in the article.
Data in the section “Article Output by Country” are reported by publication year through 2011 as recorded in the SCI and SSCI data files through late January 2013. These data are noted as “by year of publication.” Publication data in the remaining bibliometrics sections are reported through 2012. These data are noted as “by data file year.”
Data for coauthorships and citations can be misleading if they do not take into account the size of a country’s scientific publication base. To aid interpretation, data should be normalized. The normalized measures used in this report have an expected value of 1.00. If the measure is higher than expected, it will be greater than 1.00; if less than expected, it will be less than 1.00.
Index of International Collaboration. Eliminating other factors (language, geography, etc.), one might expect a large share of a country’s internationally coauthored articles to have coauthors from the United States simply due to the sheer size of the U.S. scientific base. Thus, if the United States is a coauthor on 43% of the world’s internationally coauthored articles, one would expect 43% of China’s internationally coauthored articles to have a U.S. partner. In fact, 47.5% of China’s internationally coauthored articles in 2012 have a U.S. coauthor. Dividing the actual share by the expected share yields an index value of 1.10. Thus, China coauthors with the United States 10% more than expected. Index values for any country pair are always symmetrical, so the United States also coauthors with China 10% more than expected. The data for calculating the 2012 indexes in appendix table
Relative Citation Index. Similarly, normalizing citation counts by a country’s publication output is essential for correct interpretation of the data. The expected share of citations that one country receives from another depends on the number of articles that the cited country produces. Using the U.S.-China example above, the United States authored 26.6% of all 2008–10 articles (appendix table
Using a combination of U.S. Patent Classification and International Patent Classification codes and text strings, the National Science Foundation developed algorithms to identify U.S. Patent and Trademark Office–issued patents with potential application in four broad, green technology areas. The four technology areas and their main subcategories are listed below. The search codes used to locate relevant patents are available at http://www.patentboard.com/OurResearch/PatentFilters/tabid/115/Default.aspx, which documents the process used in identifying relevant patents.
|Geothermal||Flywheels||Sensing and measurement||Air|
|Hydropower||Superconducting magnetic energy systems||Advanced control methods||Solid waste|
|Nuclear||Ultracapacitors||Improved interfaces and decision support||Water|
|Integrated communication||Environmental remediation|
|Wave/tidal/ocean||Thermal energy storage||Cleaner coal|
|Wind||Compressed air||Carbon and greenhouse gas capture and storage|
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National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) |
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Science and Engineering Indicators 2014 Arlington, VA (NSB 14-01) | February 2014