DATA SETS: Follow the Money

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Science  18 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5554, pp. 411b
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5554.411b

Anyone interested in patterns of investment in research and development will find a bounty of information at this site from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Industrial Research and Development Information System contains more than 2500 tables of R&D statistics gathered by NSF between 1953 and 1998. The data, in Excel spreadsheets, come from NSF's annual Survey of Industrial Research and Development, which estimates total spending on R&D by industrial firms within the United States. For example, you can see how priorities have shifted in a post-Cold War world, with research on aircraft and missiles shrinking from 33% of total industrial R&D in 1960 to just 8.5% in 1998 (of $169 billion overall). The tables break down data by state and industry, by scientific field, by number of companies, and even by R&D expenditures per scientist or engineer.

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