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Support to the Development and Analysis of a Research and Innovation Policy Taxonomy and Questionnaire

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - REITER (Support to the Development and Analysis of a Research and Innovation Policy Taxonomy and Questionnaire)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2018-04-30

The REITER project implements the goals of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme “Europe in a Changing World: inclusive, innovative and reflective societies” by contributing to the monitoring and assessment of research and innovation (R&I) policies in Europe and beyond. Broadly speaking, the project seeks to enhance country R&I policy monitoring arrangements already performed by the OECD and European Commission (EC); to put in place a new knowledge management system that supports enhanced analysis of country data and its open accessibility; and to conduct data analysis in support of European R&I policy needs.

The project builds on the OECD’s unique strengths in R&I policy monitoring and analysis. For more than 20 years, the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI), under the aegis of the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP), has conducted biennial surveys of STI policies in its member and strategic partner countries. Since 2015, as part of efforts to streamline and reduce the reporting burden for OECD and EU member countries, the survey has been carried out in partnership with the EC’s Directorate-General for Research & Innovation (DG RTD). The survey is branded as the EC-OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) Survey, and is unique in its scope, nature and coverage. It addresses all areas of STI policy, covering initiatives spread across different ministries and national agencies (e.g. research, education, industry, environment, labour, finance/budget, etc.). It also includes questions specific to the EU’s STI policy agenda. Responses are provided by government officials, with coordination carried out by national delegates of the CSTP and EC’s ERAC (European Research Area Committee).

The survey is large and wide-ranging, reflecting the broad scope of R&I policy. Over time, it had incrementally grown into an overly complicated survey, not helped by the use of weak survey tools, and was challenging for countries to complete and for the OECD and EC to use its data. Furthermore, while countries's responses to the survey were nominally open to anyone to use, in practice, the data was difficult to access. As a result of REITER, the methodology surrounding the administration of the STIP Survey was radically changed. The survey questionnaire was re-designed, streamlined, and firmly structured on R&I policy taxonomies. A new knowledge management system was put in place, consisting of a new survey tool and database, driven by the R&I policy taxonomies. These changes enhanced data collection and storage, and opened up access to the survey data for policy makers and analysts. In addition, data gathered in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the survey were analysed in a series of reports, leading to an understanding of the policy patterns revealed by the data across several topics.
The project designed and administered new data collection tools that lightened the burden on countries and OECD analysts alike, improving data quality and the timeliness of data analysis and open access. A data provider and user study led to the reduction of the number of questions in the questionnaire from 106 to 51 core questions. These 51 questions were classified following the traditional functional approach for the analysis of innovation policies, based on six core policy areas: (i) Governance; (ii) Public research system; (iii) Innovation in firms and innovative entrepreneurship; (iv) Public-private knowledge transfers and linkages; (v) Human resources for research and innovation; and, (vi) Research and innovation for society. 12 additional questions were introduced for two one-off categories (i.e. only to be included in the 2017 edition of the STIP survey), to collect data in key policy areas of (i) Digitalisation; and (ii) ERA-related initiatives. After evaluating several alternatives for deploying the survey questionnaire, the LimeSurvey open source software was chosen as the most adequate solution. The survey was administred between 9 October 2017 to 1 March 2018.

The project used semantic web tools already deployed in the OECD to build a semantic database. This database is structured by a taxonomy that models the R&I policy domain, specifying concepts and formalising the relationships between them according to policy analysis needs. The database incorporates more than 500 dashboards that improve data search and analysis capabilities and support open access. It is publicly accessible and its data (and taxonomies) can be freely downloaded in various formats.

Several reports were developed throughout the course of the project, using data gathered from the STIP survey to analyse cross-country patterns in various policy areas of interest to DG RTD. Seven topic-based analytical reports were written using the curated data from the 2016 edition of the survey. Two in-depth reports were based on the data collected from the 2017 edition of the survey to outline the latest patterns in policies supporting digital and open innovation and science-industry knowledge transfer. An additional overarching report provides an overview of the 2017 dataset.
"The database developed is branded as the ""STIP Compass"". It was launched in beta mode in late-April 2018 and has since attracted about 2000 unique visits per month (excluding visits coming from within the OECD). This traffic is expected to grow progressively as the database becomes better known and links the survey data to a wider variety of other data sources (including statistics) from inside the OECD and the EC and from outside (including data hosted by national governments). In this way, the STIP Compass is on track to become a single extensive source of information on national R&I policies of EC and OECD member countries that will be invaluable for policy makers and analysts.

The project's survey tool will be reused for the 2019 edition of the EC-OECD STIP survey. In the meantime, it will be re-purposed as a continuous policy monitor and will collect updates on countries R&I policies on a rolling basis. In this way, the data in STIP Compass will be more up-to-date."
The top-level dashboard in the EC-OECD STIP Compass portal