Key Survey Information
Survey Quality Measures
Data Availability and Comparability
1. Survey Overview (2012 and 2013 survey cycle)
- Purpose: The Survey of State Government R&D is the only source for comprehensive, uniform statistics regarding the extent of R&D activity performed and funded by departments and agencies in each of the nation's 50 state governments, the government of the District of Columbia, and the government of Puerto Rico.
- Data collection authority: National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended, the COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, and Title 13, United States Code, § 8(b),. It is collected under Office of Management and Budget control number 0607-0933, expiration date 31 May 2016.
- Major changes to recent survey cycle: None.
2. Key Survey Information
- Frequency: Biennial.
- Initial survey year: 2006.
- Reference period: State fiscal-years 2012 and 2013.
- Response unit: State government departments, agencies, commissions, public authorities, institutions, and other entities that operate separately or somewhat autonomously from the central state government but where the state government maintains administrative or fiscal control over their activities.
- Sample or census: Census.
- Sample size: Not applicable.
- Population size: 366 agencies.
- Key variables: Key variables of interest are listed below.
- State government department or agency
- State R&D expenditures
- Internal performers
- External performers (academic institutions, companies and individuals, others)
- Basic research
- Source of funds (federal, state, other)
- Type of R&D (agriculture, energy, environment and natural resources, health, transportation, other)
- Capital outlays for state government R&D facilities
3. Survey Design
- Target population: The target population consists of all state departments, agencies, commissions, and dependent entities, except state-run colleges and universities that had R&D activities for state fiscal years ending in 2012 and 2013. Several industry-specific state commissions, which are generally chartered by state legislatures but are administered independently, are considered state agencies and included in the survey's population of interest. Excluded are state-run colleges and universities, which are canvassed as part of the National Science Foundation's Higher Education R&D (HERD) Survey. State-run laboratories or experiment stations controlled by state universities are also excluded from the respondent universe, as are any entities determined to be nonprofit or private as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Most states have a fiscal-year period that begins 1 July and ends the following 30 June. For example, FY 2013 is the state fiscal period beginning on 1 July 2012 and ending on 30 June 2013. There are, however, four exceptions to the 30 June fiscal year end; namely, New York (ends 31 March), Texas (ends 31 August), Alabama (ends 30 September), and Michigan (ends 30 September). For comparability, these four states are surveyed with the other 46 states that end on June 30. Puerto Rico's fiscal year begins 1 July and ends on 30 June, whereas the District of Columbia follows the federal government fiscal year, which ends on 30 September.
- Sample frame: All state government dependent units, including those for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, as defined by theU.S. Census Bureau's Government Finance and Employment Classification Manual, with the capacity or authority to perform and fund R&D as identified by a state survey coordinator, appointed by the governor of each state.
- Sample design: For the FY 2012 and FY 2013 survey, state coordinators were provided with the list of agencies that remained in the survey after the FY 2010 and FY 2011 survey, and coordinators were encouraged to add agencies that they believed were involved with R&D and were not already on the list of preselected agencies. A total of 309 agencies were preselected for the FY 2012 and FY 2013 survey from the previous survey universe by the state coordinators. State coordinators added 57 agencies to the respondent universe, for a total agency respondent universe of 366. State coordinators also made adjustments to the agency universe to remove agencies that have never had any qualifying R&D to report to NSF and to address organizational changes within their respective states since the previous survey.
4. Data Collection
The survey was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Data collection was conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau by means of a Web-based survey instrument.
- Data collection: The survey was launched in January 2014, and responses were collected through August 2014. The respondent questionnaire consisted of one screening question, intended to reduce the burden on agency respondents who did not have qualifying R&D expenditures during FY 2012 or FY 2013, and five R&D expenditures data questions.
- Data processing: Data collected under the Survey of State Government R&D is subject to automated data correction procedures using a combination of logical edits incorporated into the Web-based survey instrument and telephone and e-mail follow-up with survey respondents by NSF and Census Bureau staffs for any other data anomalies.
- Estimation techniques: All state and national totals are aggregates of reported state agency data.
5. Survey Quality Measures
- Sampling error: Not applicable.
- Coverage error: NSF relies on the expertise of an appointed state coordinator to assist in identifying state government agencies that have the capacity or authority to perform or fund R&D. In cases where the state coordinator refuses to cooperate it is possible that there is an undercount of state government R&D activities, despite efforts by NSF and Census Bureau staffs to conduct additional queries and conduct outreach with state agencies in lieu of an appointed state coordinator. In other instances the appointed state coordinator could misinterpret the NSF definition and examples of qualifying R&D activities and fail to identify all state government dependent units with the capacity to perform or fund R&D.
- Nonresponse error: Of the 366 agencies in the survey universe, 365 (99.7%) responded to the survey. Of the 365 respondents, 287 (78.6%) reported having R&D activities in FY 2012 or FY 2013. Of the 309 agencies preselected for the survey who responded, 250 (80.9%) reported having R&D. Of the 57 respondent agencies added to the survey by state coordinators, 35 (61.4%) reported having R&D. No statistical methods were used to account for non-responding agencies.
- Measurement error: Before officially submitting data, state coordinators performed a final verification of aggregated agency data. All responses, including the initial agency data submissions and final state coordinator verifications, were received via the Web form or e-mail. Census staff performed basic logical edit checks and reviewed respondent comments, allowing staff to detect errors and work with state respondents to correct them. Despite these efforts, some of the data reported could include expenditures for non-R&D activities, such as commercialization, environmental testing, or routine survey work. Similarly, some state data may also exclude minor R&D expenditure amounts from agencies not surveyed.
6. Data Availability and Comparability
- Data availability: Data presented in trend tables in this report are from the most recently completed survey cycle, which canvassed 2 fiscal years (FY 2012 and FY 2013) on the same survey. Data are available beginning with FY 2006. No survey of state governments' FY 2008 R&D activity was conducted.
- Data comparability: References to data prior to FY 2012 and FY 2013 should be restricted to those published in this report for three reasons: (1) when completing the current-year survey, survey respondents may revise their prior year data; (2) state coordinators may identify additional agencies to be canvassed that were not initially surveyed during the prior survey cycle, many of these agencies will provide prior year data during the current survey collection cycle; and (3) NSF reviews data from prior years for consistency with current-year responses and, if necessary, may revise these data in consultation with respondents.
Prior to the FY 2006 survey, NSF data collections of state government R&D were conducted by nonfederal organizations that were supported by NSF grants for state governments' FY 1995, FY 1988 and FY 1987. Prior to those efforts NSF collected data for state governments' fiscal years 1977, 1973, 1972, 1967, 1968, 1965, and 1964 in collaboration with the U.S. Census Bureau's Census of Governments and related programs. As a result of differences in the survey populations, definitions of covered R&D activities, and collection methods over time, the results of these historical surveys are not comparable with the statistics collected for FY 2006 and subsequent Surveys of State Government R&D.
7. Data Products
Data from the Survey of State Government R&D are published in NCSES InfoBriefs and Detailed Statistical Data Reports at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/srvystaterd/. Data from the Survey of State Government R&D are also used in the annual report National Patterns of R&D and the biennial report Science and Engineering Indicators.
8. Contact Information
For additional information about this survey, contact the Project Officer:
Research and Development Statistics Program
National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965
Arlington, VA 22230
Phone: (703) 292-7788