Statistics on research and development (rd)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union


Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)



For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT

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1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

G4: Innovation and information society

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG


2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 03/11/2016
2.2. Metadata last posted 03/11/2016
2.3. Metadata last update 03/11/2016


3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

This collection provides users with data concerning R&D expenditure and R&D personnel broken down by following institutional sectors: business enterprise (BES), government (GOV), higher education (HES), private non-profit (PNP) with the total of sectors.

All data are broken down by the above mentioned sectors of performance. The R&D expenditure is further broken down by source of funds, by type of costs, by economic activity (NACE Rev.2), by size class, by type of R&D, by fields of science, by socio-economic objectives and by regions (NUTS 2 level).

Besides R&D expenditures in basic unit National currency (MIO_NAC) the following units are available: Euro (MIO_EUR), Euro per inhabitant (EUR_HAB), Purchasing Power Standard (MIO_PPS), Purchasing Power Standard at 2005 prices (MIO_PPS_KP05), Purchasing Power Standard per inhabitant at constant 2005 prices (PPS_KP05_HAB), Percentage of GDP (PC_GDP) and Percentage of total R&D expenditure (PC_TOT - for the breakdown by source of funds).

R&D personnel data is available in full-time equivalent (FTE), in head count (HC), as a % of employment and as a % of labour force. The data is further broken down by occupation, by qualification, by gender, by size class, by citizenship, by age groups, by fields of science, by economic activity (NACE Rev.2) and by regions (NUTS 2 level).

The periodicity of R&D data is biennial except for the key R&D indicators (R&D expenditure, R&D personnel and Researchers by sectors of performance) which are transmitted annually by the EU Member States on the basis of a legal obligation from 2003 onwards. Some other breakdowns of the data may appear on annual basis based on voluntary data provisions.

The data are collected through sample or census surveys, from administrative registers or through a combination of sources.

R&D data are available for following countries and country groups:

- All EU Member States, plus Candidate Countries, EFTA Countries, the Russian Federation, China, Japan, the United States and South Korea.
- Country groups: EU-28, EU-15 and EA-18.

R&D data are compiled in accordance to the guidelines laid down in the Proposed standard practice for surveys of research and experimental development - Frascati Manual (FM), OECD, 2002 (See annex at the bottom of the page).

3.2. Classification system

R&D statistics are compiled in line with international statistical classifications such as: Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community (NACE Rev.2, 2008), Field of science and technology classification (FOS 2007), Nomenclature for the analysis and comparison of scientific programmes and budgets (NABS 2007) and International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 2011).

In addition to the FM recommendations, regional breakdown for EU Member States, Candidate Countries and EFTA countries are compiled following the Regional Dimension of R&D and Innovation Statistics - Regional Manual, European Commission, 2003 (See annex at the bottom of the page) and the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, NUTS, Eurostat.

3.3. Coverage - sector

R&D statistics are compiled for four institutional sectors of performance: business enterprise (BES), government (GOV), higher education (HES), private non-profit (PNP). These sectors are defined based on the SNA, with the difference that higher education has been established as a separate sector and households have, by convention, been merged with the private non-profit (PNP) sector.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Main concepts and definitions used for the production of R&D statistics are given by the Frascati Manual - (See annex at the bottom of the page), the "Proposed standard practice for surveys of research and experimental development", OECD 2002, which is internationally recognised standard methodology for collecting R&D statistics.

"Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications." (§ 63, Frascati Manual, OECD 2002).

"Intramural R&D expenditures are all expenditures for R&D performed within a statistical unit or sector of the economy during a specific period, whatever the source of funds." (§ 358, Frascati Manual, OECD 2002).

"R&D personnel include all persons employed directly on R&D, as well as those providing direct services such as R&D managers, administrators, and clerical staff. Those providing an indirect service, such as canteen and security staff, should be excluded." (§ 294 - 295, Frascati Manual, OECD 2002).

"Researchers are professionals engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge, products, processes, methods and systems and also in the management of the projects concerned." (§ 301, Frascati Manual, OECD 2002).

3.5. Statistical unit

The statistical units used in order to compile R&D statistics are: (a) enterprises for the statistics compiled at national level and (b) local units for the statistics compiled at regional level (NUTS 2 level). The definitions of the statistical units ("enterprise" and "local unit") are as set out in Council Regulation (EEC) No 696/93 of 15 March 1993 on the statistical units for the observation and analysis of the production system in the Community.

3.6. Statistical population

R&D statistics are compiled for R&D activity performed in the whole economy. R&D data relate to the population of all R&D performing units classified in Sections A to U of the Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community (NACE Rev.2, 2008).

3.7. Reference area

R&D statistics are currently available for EU Member States and Candidate Countries, EFTA Countries, the Russian Federation, China, Japan, the United States and South Korea. Regional R&D statistics are available for EU Member States, Candidate and EFTA countries. Besides national and regional statistics Eurostat calculates and disseminates aggregates at the EU-and Euro-area-levels (EU-28, EU-15 and EA-18).

3.8. Coverage - Time

Eurostat's R&D database contains national data from 1980 onwards although the data availability differs according to country. European aggregates for R&D expenditure are available from 1999 onwards and for R&D personnel - from 2002.

3.9. Base period

The base year for the unit Purchasing Power Standard (PPS) and PPS per inhabitant at constant prices is currently 2005. All calculations of non-basic unit (national currencies) are done by Eurostat.


4. Unit of measure Top

R&D expenditure is available in the following units: National currency (MIO_NAC), Euro (MIO_EUR), Euro per inhabitant (EUR_HAB), Purchasing Power Standard (MIO_PPS), Purchasing Power Standard at 2005 prices (MIO_PPS_KP05), Purchasing Power Standard per inhabitant at constant 2005 prices (PPS_KP05_HAB), Percentage of GDP (PC_GDP) and Percentage of total R&D expenditure (PC_TOT - for the breakdown by source of funds).

R&D personnel data is available in full-time equivalent (FTE), in head count (HC), as a % of employment and as a % of labour force.


5. Reference Period Top

Reference period is the calendar year.


6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Until 2003 R&D data were collected under gentleman's agreement. In 2003, Decision No 1608/2003/EC of the European parliament and of the Council of 22 July 2003 concerning the production and development of community statistics on science and technology was adopted. Between reference years 2003 to 2011 the data collection was based on the Commission Regulation No 753/2004 on statistics on science and technology (OJ L 118, page 23 from 23 April 2004), and as amended by the Commission Regulation (EC) No 973/2007 (OJL 216, page 10 from 21 August 2007). From the reference year 2012 onwards, the Commission Implementing Regulation on statistics science and technology No 995/2012 (OJ L 299, page 18 from 27 October 2012) applies.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

From December 2005 onwards R&D data are collected in co-operation with OECD using a common questionnaire and two separate modules which cover both Eurostat's and OECD's specific statistical needs.


7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Primary and secondary confidentiality of national R&D data are flagged by the countries and provided to Eurostat. Eurostat is not executing any additional measures, other than removing flagged data while publishing the results. Primary and secondary confidentiality is respected for any data publicly released.


8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Preliminary R&D data are targeted to be published in Eurobase 11 months after the end of the reference year (in November).

Final R&D data are targeted to be published in Eurobase 23 months after the end of the reference year (in the following November).

8.2. Release calendar access

Not available.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - "Dissemination format") respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.


9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Annual (with revisions and updates).


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

News releases on-line.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Pocketbook "Science, technology and innovation in Europe".

Statistics Explained.  

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

See also Eurostat's STI section website.

Internet address: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat

10.6. Documentation on methodology

Detail information about the national survey methods applied (Metadata) as well as about the quality of the data (Quality Reports) is provided by the countries to Eurostat systematically once in two years at the minimum.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

National biennial quality reports of Member States, Norway and Switzerland are available since reference year 2009. Synthesis of National Quality Reports for RD and GBAORD statistics with reference year 2009 is available in Annex of this document (See bottom of the page).

Additionally the Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of Decision No 1608/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on science and technology statistics from 2014 is available.


11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Eurostat is ensuring that the statistical practices used to compile national R&D data are in compliance with Frascati Manual recommendations. Quality evaluation of R&D statistics is carried out based on the information provided in the national quality reports sent by the countries in addition to the regular metadata provision.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

According to the information available the overall quality of R&D statistics is good and improved compared to the previous quality evaluation. Compared to other sectors of R&D performance the BES shows higher non-response rates and has some coverage concerns. The completeness of R&D data is very good for mandatory variables stipulated in Commission Implementing Regulation No 995/2012. The coherence between preliminary and final results is good.


12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP (R&D intensity) is one of the five headline target indicators set by Europe 2020 strategy for EU-28 (to be achieved by 2020).

The users who make the most use of R&D data are:

- Commission DGs: DG Research and Innovation; DG JRC;

- International organisations: OECD, UNESCO;

- National governments;

- Scientific organisations and universities.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

User satisfaction with the national statistics is reported as high. In most of the countries this assessment is based not on specific user satisfaction survey but on ad-hoc feedback received from users.

Main results from the Rolling Review from 2012 also show high degree of users’ and partners’ satisfaction.

12.3. Completeness

Data completeness of both preliminary and final mandatory data is very good. Optional variables in the BES, GOV and HES are less complete, as a few countries do not collect part or all of these data in their national surveys.


13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The overall accuracy of R&D statistics is very good. All countries report that they make great efforts to prevent the appearance of errors in the data and that they carry out rigorous data validation to detect errors.

13.2. Sampling error

Many Member States carry out census survey in BES. Coefficients of variations (on two key variables R&D expenditure and R&D personnel in FTE) vary significantly between Member States.

13.3. Non-sampling error

Coverage errors are of different nature for BES and the rest of R&D sectors. For the BES the quality of the frame used is of concern and under constant monitoring. For the other sectors the main contributor to coverage error is the possibility to include, exclude or double count R&D activities. However, countries report that these type of errors are either negligible or very low.

While no quantitative information is available on measurement errors a substantial effort is reportedly taken by countries into minimizing them in all sectors. A comparison of response rates between Business, Government and Higher education sectors indicates that the response rate is both smaller and more variable in businesses. According to the latest information available a median response rate reported for BES is around 87%, while for GOV and HES is above 96%.


14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

According to Commission Implementing Regulation No 995/2012 preliminary data on R&D expenditure,  R&D personnel and researchers in FTE are provided to Eurostat 10 months after the end of the calendar year (October) and are targeted to be released in November.

Final R&D data are provided to Eurostat 18 months after the end of the calendar year (June) and are targeted to be released in November.

14.2. Punctuality

Countries are very punctual in delivery of R&D data to Eurostat with some temporary exceptions.


15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Although the R&D data are compiled by the countries following the guidelines and definitions outlined in the Frascati Manual and the Regional Manual, data comparability across countries can be affected by different survey methods used.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Breaks in the time series are rare in the most recent years but more frequent in the years before 1997.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Comparisons between R&D statistics and relevant statistics from other domains is relevant mainly for the business enterprise sector, for which R&D statistics are also collected through other national surveys. In most of the cases the differences are quite small. Where they are larger they are attributed to methodological differences between the R&D survey and the survey that produced the other relevant statistics.

15.4. Coherence - internal

The coherence between preliminary and final R&D results is very good. The internal consistency of the data (links between variables, coherence between data series,…) is checked by Eurostat before dissemination.


16. Cost and Burden Top

Information is not available.


17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

Countries are allowed to revise the data. Any substantial revision is justified/explained.

17.2. Data revision - practice

In case of any substantial revision countries provide justification/explanation.


18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

At national level R&D data are compiled by the national statistical authorities: National Statistical Offices, Research Councils and Ministries. The data are collected through sample or census surveys, from administrative registers or through a combination of sources.

National R&D surveys are carried out in accordance to the concepts, guidelines and definitions laid down in the Proposed standard practice for surveys of research and experimental development - Frascati Manual (FM), OECD, 2002 (See annex at the bottom of the page). The data are gathered via national questionnaires in paper and/or electronic format. The statistical unit used is enterprise.

Detail information about the national survey methods applied (Metadata) as well as about the quality of the data (Quality Reports) is provided by the countries to Eurostat systematically once in two years at the minimum.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

There are two cycles of annual data collection which correspond to the legally established deadlines for R&D data transmission by the countries: in October (T+10) for preliminary R&D data and in June (T+18) for final R&D data. Between these regular cycles Member States can also provide updates and/or revisions of R&D data.

18.3. Data collection

Basic compilations of national R&D statistics are provided directly to Eurostat by 36 countries: EU Member States, Candidate Countries, EFTA Countries and the Russian Federation. Data for China, Japan, the United States and South Korea are extracted from OECD database.

National aggregated R&D data are collected by Eurostat using Excel files as pre-fixed templates: the common OECD/Eurostat Questionnaire and the Eurostat module. The collection is made in co-operation with the OECD. Countries' data, including confidential data, are provided to Eurostat in basic unit national currency for R&D expenditures and in full-time equivalent (FTE) and in head count (HC) for R&D personnel. Derived indicators and aggregates are calculated by Eurostat on the basis on data collected and together with relevant reference data from Eurobase.

The data are possible to be accompanied with a number of flags conveying R&D statistics' specific information to Eurostat and the OECD. Users are asked contacting Eurostat for obtaining further explanations of the flags which are not available in the dissemination database ("d" and "i").

National data are received only via eDAMIS.

18.4. Data validation

At Eurostat level R&D data provided by the national statistical authorities are checked for consistency and plausibility, and compared with previously provided data before being imported in the internal production database. Suspected errors are reported to the national statistical authorities for correction or explanation of any detected anomaly.

Major breaks in series or/and other deviations are flagged by the countries.

18.5. Data compilation

Production of R&D statistics relies on the data sent by the countries. The derived indicators are calculated based on relevant reference data from Eurostat data bases (Eurobase). Geographical aggregates (e.g. EU28, EU15, EA18) are calculated by Eurostat as the sum of the national data expressed in a common unit. Where single Member States' figures are lacking, Eurostat may use unpublished estimates to impute country data and hence calculate the European aggregates.

18.6. Adjustment

European aggregates should be seen as estimates and can sometimes deviate from what is obtained when summing up the national data. This can be due to dissemination of single or several national data sets outside the normal data treatment cycles. It can also be due to possible inconsistencies in national data e.g. the totals have been revised with different cycle than their breakdowns. Within the European aggregates consistency is however always assured in a way that breakdowns sum up to the total.


19. Comment Top

Geographical consistency: while the European aggregates usually coincide with the sum of Member States figures, they are updated only at fixed intervals (normally twice a year), which means there may be a difference between the European aggregate and the appropriate sum of national data between the regular updates due to updates/revision of R&D data at country level.


Related metadata Top


Annexes Top
Proposed standard practice for surveys on R&D, Frascati Manual, OECD, 2002.
Footnote to national targets, Gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD)
Synthesis of National Quality Reports for RD and GBAORD statistics with reference year 2009
R&D&I Regional Manual, European Commission, 2003