Guide to OECD Science and Technology Indicators


Updated every six months, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)'s Science and Technology Indicators are made up of two databases, the Main Science and Technology Indicators and the Research and Development Statistics.

The Main Science and Technology Indicators provides a set of indicators that reflect the level and structure of the efforts undertaken by OECD Member countries and selected non-member economies in the field of Science and Technology and are available from 1981 onwards.

The Research and Development Statistics covers R and D indicators and the results of science and technology (S and T) activities, such as patents and technology balance of payments.

Main topics

The data includes over 150 main data series selected from the OECD Scientific and Technological Indicators database. One hundred of these series concern resources devoted to research and experimental development and an additional 35 are measures of output and the impact of scientific and technological activities. Also included are 11 economic series used to calculate indicators such as growth rates at fixed prices, R and D expenditures as a percentage of GDP or industrial value added, and to convert data into a common currency using comparisons at purchasing power parities.

The series are grouped under the following subject headings:

  • Gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD)
  • R&D Personnel (FTE)
  • GERD by source of funds
  • GERD by performance sectors
  • Researchers (Headcount)
  • Business Enterprise Expenditure on R&D (BERD)
  • Business Enterprise R&D Personnel (FTE)
  • BERD by source of funds
  • BERD performed in selected industries:
  • Higher Education Expenditure on R&D (HERD)
  • Higher Education R&D Personnel (FTE)
  • Government Expenditure on R&D
  • Government R&D Personnel (FTE)
  • Government Budget Appropriations or Outlays for R&D by socio-economic objectives (GBAORD)
  • R&D Expenditure of Foreign Affiliates
  • Patents
  • Technology Balance of Payments (TBP)
  • International trade in highly R&D-intensive industries
  • Annex: Economic series

To facilitate searching across these subjects, within Beyond 2020 all indicators are listed under the ‘Subject’ dimension. You simply need to scroll through to find the indicator you are interested in, or alternatively use the Search function.

Access OECD data

Access to the OECD Science and Technology Indicators via UKDS.Stat is freely available to all.

Effective July 15th 2015, the UK Data Service made access to OECD online statistics databases free to all users. Please refer to the OECD’s Terms and Conditions, including information on ‘What can you do with OECD published content (data, text and multimedia products).


Find more information about the Science and Technology Indicators at the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry.


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