Since 1962, the OECD Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI) has been responsible for developing and updating the Frascati Manual, the OECD guidelines for measuring R&D. Frascati definitions and classifications have been widely adopted, including for non-statistical purposes. Over the next couple of years, NESTI will undertake the Manual’s sixth revision. This web page provides some background and invites feedback on the Manual at the outline phase of this revision project.
The OECD regularly publishes statistical data on the financial and human efforts made by countries – institutions, business, etc. – to raise their knowledge capacity through research and development (R&D); see Main Science and Technology Indicators and Research and Development Statistics.
Along other science, technology and innovation indicators, R&D data contribute to the monitoring of long term structural changes and new developments across OECD and partner economies. Conscientious efforts by national agencies to adhere to a common R&D measurement standard – the OECD Frascati Manual – enable users to undertake international comparisons.
Developing measurement standards
The Frascati Manual is based on the experience gained from collecting R&D statistics in OECD member countries and elsewhere. It is the result of the collective work of national experts who collect and issue data and indicators on research and development (R&D). This collaborative effort takes place under the aegis of the OECD Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI).
The first official version of the manual – Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys of Research and Development – was published in 1963 after an OECD expert meeting at Villa Falconieri in Frascati, Italy. Over the years, the manual has become the standard of conduct for R&D surveys and data collection not only in the OECD and the European Union, but also in several non-member economies, for example, through the science and technology surveys of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).
The Frascati Manual is available online from www.oecd.org/sti/frascatimanual. It is one of the most translated and influential OECD publications. Although the Manual is essentially a technical document for statistical measurement purposes, it is a cornerstone of OECD efforts to increase the understanding of the role played by science, technology and innovation. By providing internationally accepted definitions of R&D and classifications of its component activities, the Manual contributes to intergovernmental discussions on best practices for science and technology policies and provides a reference document to organisations and individuals with an interest in R&D.
Towards Frascati 7.0
Since its first publication, the Manual has been revised on five occasions –most recently in 2002– to reflect changes in the nature of R&D, respond to user demands, align with other international statistical standards and address evolving measurement challenges, making use of new approaches developed by R&D measurement experts within their own national contexts.
In April 2013, NESTI approved the commencement of a new revision with the objective of delivering an up-to-date set of guidelines on how to measure and report R&D statistics, reflecting agreed best practice, promoting the international comparability of the data and its relevance to users, particularly policy makers. This revision pursues five specific objectives:
- Reflect changes in the nature of R&D, including cross-country, inter-firm and related arrangements, considering among other the implications of the use of R&D definitions for tax and accounting purposes.
- Recognise the widespread and increasing use of the Manual’s guidelines among developing countries, working in partnership with other international organisations in this field.
- Highlight methodological approaches for addressing new survey challenges and making best use of complementary data sources.
- Propose developments that facilitate the use of R&D statistics in other statistical frameworks. This applies in particular to their use of National Accounts, in the light of the impending treatment of R&D as capital formation within “mainstream” economic statistics.
- Ensure that The Frascati Manual provides an effective, “living” tool for the STI community, becoming an easily accessible online repository of knowledge and a pathway to other relevant sources.
How to contribute to the revision? A public consultation on the Manual (extended deadline)
The revision of the manual is part of the 2013-2014 Programme of Work of the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP), NESTI’s parent committee. You can contribute to the scoping stage of the manual revision by submitting a response to the following questions.
Please provide your full name, title and organisation and whether your response represents the views of the organisation of which you are member.
- Have you used the Frascati Manual, and if so, how and for what purpose? Please provide examples.
- What specific contents of the Manual have you used / consulted / referred to?
- Were the guidance, examples and other content helpful for your intended purposes? Can you explain why?
- Did you find any of relevant information missing, inaccurate or of limited relevance to your purposes? Can you explain why?
- Are there, in your opinion, any changes in the content, presentation and navigability of the material that would help improve your use of the Manual? If so, could you please list them?
By submitting a response to this consultation, you provide your consent to it being made made publicly available at the discretion of the OECD Secretariat.
The deadline for submissions has been extended in the light of ongoing flow of entries coinciding with the end of the summer season and user requests. The new deadline is 31 October 2013.
Please e-mail your responses to:
firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 October 2013.
Frascati Manual: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development, 6th edition