Science and technology

Oslo Manual 2018

Guidelines for Collecting, Reporting and Using Data on Innovation, 4th Edition

In series:The Measurement of Scientific, Technological and Innovation Activitiesview more titles

Published on October 22, 2019

Also available in: French, Lithuanian

What is innovation and how should it be measured? Understanding the scale of innovation activities, the characteristics of innovative firms and the internal and systemic factors that can influence innovation is a prerequisite for the pursuit and analysis of policies aimed at fostering innovation. First published in 1992, the Oslo Manual is the international reference guide for collecting and using data on innovation. In this fourth edition, the manual has been updated to take into account a broader range of innovation-related phenomena as well as the experience gained from recent rounds of innovation surveys in OECD countries and partner economies and organisations.  


Abbreviations and acronyms
Executive summary
Glossary of terms
Introduction to the measurement of innovation2 chapters available
Introduction to innovation statistics and the Oslo Manual
Concepts for measuring innovation
Framework and guidelines for measuring business innovation6 chapters available
Concepts and definitions for measuring business innovation
Measuring business innovation activities
Measuring business capabilities for innovation
Business innovation and knowledge flows
Measuring external factors influencing innovation in firms
Objectives and outcomes of business innovation
Methods for collecting, analysing and reporting statistics on business innovation3 chapters available
Methods for collecting data on business innovation
The object method for innovation measurement
Use of innovation data for statistical indicators and analysis
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About the 2018 edition

The 2018 edition contains improved guidance reflecting evolving user interests and accumulated practical experience. It includes new material dedicated to supporting the measurement of innovation outside the business sector, understanding the internal and external drivers of business innovation as well as a firm’s most important innovation, and facilitating better use of innovation data for statistics and analysis.

Find out more about the manual and what's new in the 2018 edition (pdf).

As a statistical manual, the electronic version of the Oslo Manual is freely accessible to browse and download either via the table of contents above or on OECD iLibrary. Print copies can be ordered from our official distributor.


Innovation data

The Oslo Manual is the basis upon which the OECD and other international organisations collect and publish statistics on business innovation.


Other data sources using Oslo Manual guidelines:


Oslo Manual community space

A community space exists for OECD Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI) delegates and compilers of innovation statistics to discuss manual implementation experiences and to seek advice and support from peers, the OECD and other partnering international organisations. To request access, please write to


Revision process and previous editions

The Oslo Manual is based on the experience gained from collecting and analysing innovation data in both OECD and EU countries and and non-member economies. The 2018 edition is the result of the collective work of NESTI, involving more than 120 experts from nearly 40 countries and international organisations. The revision took place over two and a half years and was supported by an open online consultation and discussions with various other OECD committees. The manual has been endorsed by the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP) and the OECD Committee for Statistics and Statistical Policy (CSSP).

The manual owes its name to Norway’s capital city where in the early 1990s the OECD Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI) first agreed on a common approach to measure and report statistics on innovation. The manual has been revised on three occasions to address new challenges and take into account emerging user interests.

Earlier editions were published in 1992, 1997 and 2005.


Related material


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