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Explanatory note on the Women in Science data

Further Information on the data


These data are correct as of 30 July 2004. In order to be fully informed about these data, we advise users to refer to the explanatory note, dictionary and methodological notes.


These data have been collected with the intention of addressing specific policy concerns:

  • How many women? Addresses the need to ensure that women who have been trained as scientists are involved in the European Research Area.
  • Horizontal segregation refers to the extent to which the sexes are polarised or concentrated within scientific fields and institutional sectors. The policy concern here is to minimise all forms of segregation between the sexes.
  • Vertical segregation examines the mobility of women within the scientific hierarchy.
  • Fairness and success rates aims to discover whether women are receiving funding at the same rate as men, and whether they are proportionately represented in leadership and decision-making positions.

Units of R&D staff

The data are presented in head count (HC) units for the indicators and statistics unless otherwise stated. The personnel represented in HC is the number of individuals who are employed mainly or partly in defined occupations. One FTE corresponds to one year's work by one full-time person.

Classifications and categorisations

All data conform to the guidelines of the Frascati Manual (The measurement of Scientific and technological activities: proposed standard Practice for Surveys of Research and Experimental Development, Frascati Manual 1993, OECD: Paris) unless otherwise indicated, with regards to:

Institutional sectors:
Business Enterprise (BES), 163

Numbers of R&D personnel by activity: The Frascati Manual defines research staff as all persons employed directly on R&D, as well as those providing direct services such as R&D managers, administrators, and clerical staff (294). The split by occupation of R&D personnel is adapted from the International Standard Classification of Occupation (ISCO) and especially designed for R&D surveys: researchers, 301; technicians and equivalent staff, 306 and other supporting staff, 309.
Data for Indicators 1 - 5 and statistics tables 1 and 2 all conform to the definition of researcher as described in §301-309 unless otherwise indicated: "professionals engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge, product processes, methods, and systems, and in the management of the project concerned".

Exceptions to the international definition of researchers and sectors are described in "Methodological notes on researchers in the BES".

The 6 main fields of science:

  • Natural sciences (NS)
  • Engineering and Technologies (ET)
  • Medical sciences (MS)
  • Agricultural sciences (AS)
  • Social sciences (SS)
  • Humanities (H)

Academic staff by level:

Data on academic staff looks at vertical segregation and explores the dissimilarities in the distributions of the sexes throughout a given hierarchical system. Data collected through the national higher education surveys have been reported by the statistical correspondents and mapped according to an ABCD grading system. This system is not an internationally recognised classification and is an area of work still under development and further methodological work is required to achieve a degree of comparability across countries.

Definitions of the grades:
A: The single highest grade/post at which research is normally conducted within the institutional or corporate system*
B: Should include all researchers working in positions which are not as senior as the top position (A) but definitely more senior than the newly qualified PhD holders (C); i.e.: below A and above C
C: The first grade/post into which a newly qualified PhD (ISCED6) graduate would normally be recruited within the institutional or corporate system
D: Either postgraduate students not yet holding a PhD (ISCED6) degree who are engaged as researchers, or researchers working in posts that do not normally require a PhD

* In many countries, but not all, grade A is synonymous with the title of “full professor”

National definitions of the categories are described in "Methodological notes on academic staff". The breakdown of professors by field of science is according to the field in which they work and not according to the field of study.

Research Funds

Sex-disaggregated data on the applicants for and beneficiaries of research funding are of interest because they illustrate whether women and men are treated equally in their applications for funding. The data is presented at national level rather than by individual fund and funding success rates are calculated. However, further methodological work is required to achieve a minimum level of cross country comparability. The common rule is that data on funds should cover all publicly managed research funding applicants and beneficiaries and the funding data refers to numbers of applicants and beneficiaries, and not to the amounts of funding. All further details, abbreviations and explanations are described in "Methodological notes on funding data".

Scientific Boards

A scientific board is defined as:

“A publicly or privately managed and financed group of elected or appointed experts that exists to implement scientific policy by directing resource allocation and management in scientific research.”

Data is presented at national level and refers to board members and board leaders broken down by sex. Data availability is still quite low and further methodological work is required to achieve a minimum level of cross country comparability. All further details, abbreviations and explanations are described in "Methodological notes on boards data".

Explanatory Note
Dictionary of Abbreviations
Methodological notes on researchers in the BES
Methodological notes on academic staff
Methodological notes on funding data
Methodological notes on boards