Science and technology policy

Main Science and Technology Indicators


Last update MSTI(2015)/1: July 2015
Next update MSTI(2015)/2: January 2016

Main Science and Technology Indicators full database



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The latest OECD estimates confirm the continued growth of Gross Domestic Expenditures on R&D (GERD) in 2013 following the decline caused by the global economic and financial crisis of 2008. In the OECD area, the level of R&D spending rose by 2.7% in real terms from 2012. As a percentage of GDP, GERD remained unchanged at 2.4%. This recent growth in the OECD has been mainly driven by a strong increase in R&D performed by business (+3.5%), while R&D expenditures in the higher education and the government institutions have grown by 1.2% and 0.4% respectively.

After a 4-year decline (2010-13), R&D budgets in the OECD area appear to have stabilized in 2014. Among countries for which 2014 data are available, half have increased their budgets in real terms and the estimated total has levelled off (-0.01%).

In 2013, China’s GERD continued to growth at a rapid pace (+13%) and represents more than 2% of GDP. Chinese patent applications under the PCT system have also risen more rapidly than for OECD countries, but total numbers remain well below those of the United States and the EU. GERD in Japan has caught up in 2013 with its pre-crisis level of 2007. Among the countries covered by the OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators, R&D intensity in 2013 was largest in Israel (4.21%), followed by Korea (4.15%).

Methodological note: The latest OECD estimates provide up-to-date series on R&D intensity across countries, consistent with the latest status of adoption of the 2008 System of National Accounts for measuring GDP (see: As GDP has been revised upwards for several countries, most recently those in the European Union, R&D intensity may wrongly appear to have fallen if compared with previous MSTI editions. 






About MSTI

The MSTI database provides a set of indicators that reflect the level and structure of the efforts undertaken by OECD Member countries and seven non-member economies (Argentina, China, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Chinese Taipei) in the field of science and technology from 1981 onwards. These data include final or provisional results as well as forecasts established by government authorities. The indicators cover the resources devoted to research and development, patent families, technology balance of payments and international trade in R&D-intensive industries.

Indicators on R&D expenditures, budgets and personnel are derived from the OECD’s Research and Development Statistics (RDS) database, which is based on the data reported to OECD and Eurostat in the framework of the joint OECD/Eurostat international data collection on resources devoted to R&D.

The sources for the other indicators include the OECD databases on Activities of Foreign Affiliates (AFA), on Bilateral Trade in Goods by Industry and End-use Category database (BTDIxE), on Patents and on Technological Balance of Payments (TBP).


Details of coverage


The electronic edition is available via the OECD’s data dissemination service. Once you are on OECD.stat, the MSTI excel file can be downloaded by clicking “export” and then “related files”.

MSTI is combined with the OECD’s RDS (Research and Development Statistics) database in “OECD Science, Technology and R&D Statistics”. This product is available on the Online Bookshop and notably includes a CD-ROM (with both RDS and MSTI databases) and the paper edition of MSTI. The MSTI database is also available online at OECDiLibrary.


The OECD R&D and GBAORD Sources and Methods Databases, relating to series presented in Main Science and Technology Indicators and Research and Development Statistics are available at:


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