Impact Assessment of Innovation Policy

4.1 Data on Public Research Outputs and Inputs

The proposed study will rely on detailed information on research outputs generated by public research organisations. The information will be obtained from international databases of publications and patents. These data provide quantitative and rich information on research outputs; it is possible to differentiate across different types of research contributions (including, for instance, proxying for the quality of outputs, focusing on institutions and researchers’ generating such knowledge, as well as the geographic location where such knowledge inputs where generated). Evidence on joint industry-university publications or patents provide direct evidence of public research organisations’ relations with industry. Patenting and publications data also allow applying network analysis tools to map linkages across institutions, a particularly useful dimension in the context of this project. 

Three different publications databases are available - Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science, Elsevier’s Scopus (Version 6.2014, April 2014) and Google Scholar. The databases provide information about publications with detail disaggregated at the level of the scientific article, allowing disaggregation by scientific field among other criteria. In addition, other databases, such as, for instance, the COMETSandStars database and nanobank.org, can provide complementary information on research outputs in specific fields and/or countries (Zucker et al., 2011, Zucker and Darby, 2014b). Moreover, several relevant research output indicators are available from university rankings such as the Leiden Ranking of universities. The latter includes indicators for about 750 universities, this includes information on university-industry co-operation obtained based on the database by Thomson Reuters.

Information on patents issued by public research organisations will be taken from the PatStat database. Similarly to information on publications, a distinct advantage of these data consists in the specific information on specific patents by technology type, geographic location, etc. (OECD, 2009). In addition, citations of scientific publications in patent application documents are a useful source to identify industries’ needs for scientific inputs. Industries would be identified based on the identity of industry inventors who filed patent applications.

With regards to data on research inputs, there are few international sources of similarly comprehensive information. The EUMIDA research project resulted in a baseline dataset with some information on student numbers, specialisation, research activities and international as well as regional engagements of universities in Europe. For the world’s leading universities, some information can be obtained from university rankings, including, for instance, information about faculty, research student numbers, etc. Bodies in charge of funding research, such as the Higher Education Funding Council for England, also collect and provide statistics on public research organisations, sometimes at the level of departments.