Science and technology policy

Research and Development Statistics (RDS)


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The 2016 edition of Research and Development Statistics (RDS), released in April, provides a wide range of recent data on the resources devoted to R&D in all OECD countries and selected non-member economies.


Data sources

RDS 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.

Dataset coverage

The statistical series published start from 1981 and cover the following:

A first set of tables deals with gross domestic expenditure on research and experimental development (GERD). This covers all R&D carried out on a national territory in the year concerned using various breakdowns. R&D expenditure data are expressed in million national currency, million current PPP$, and million constant $ (2010 prices and PPPs).

The second set covers resources devoted to R&D measured in labour terms, i.e. R&D personnel by sector of employment and various breakdowns.  R&D personnel data are expressed in full time equivalents on R&D (FTE) and in headcounts.

Datasets on R&D expenditure and personnel are also provided for R&D carried out in the business enterprise sector with detailed data by industry or size class. Additionally R&D in the higher education and private non-profit sectors are also available with detailed data by field of science or type of costs.


Government Budgets on R&D

The R&D expenditure and personnel tables are based on surveys of the units carrying out the R&D and national estimates and provisional data have been included when available. More up to date information on government intentions or objectives when committing money to R&D can be derived from budgets. These data are shown in the government budget appropriations or outlays for RD (GBAORD) table, which includes the breakdown of government R&D budgets by socio economic objective (SEO).


Historical R&D Expenditure Series

In addition to these tables updated once a year, a subset of (discontinued) historical series are also available.

These tables contain recently digitised historical OECD research and development (R&D) expenditure and personnel statistics for the period 1963-1980. These represent data collected by OECD among member countries following the publication of the OECD Frascati Manual in 1963 and its two subsequent revisions in 1970 and 1974. Methodological notes by country and indicator are available in this publication. Because of the discontinuities in the data, these historical series are presented separately from the OECD Research and Development Statistics publication. Researchers and the public in general with an interest in this subject are invited to investigate the features of these historical data. Independent efforts to attempt to construct consistent series and derive long-term historical indicators are encouraged for research purposes, subject to appropriate attribution and description of sources.


Quality control and international comparability

  • R&D data are collected at a national level through surveys and other sources following the recommendations of the OECD Frascati Manual, which is the internationally recognised standard in this area (
  • Data are then submitted by national contacts to the OECD (in co-ordination with Eurostat for EU countries) and reviewed in order to ensure consistency
  • Countries are also required to provide detailed metadata in order to identify and assess any deviations from the Frascati guidelines
  • When data are disseminated, flags are used to provide information on specific series and datapoints.

Related links and further reading


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