Frascati Manual

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The Frascati Manual is a document setting forth the methodology for collecting statistics about research and development. The Manual was prepared and published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

In June 1963, OECD experts met with the NESTI group (National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators) at the Villa Falconieri in Frascati, Italy. Based on a background document by Christopher Freeman they drafted the first version of Frascati Manual, which is officially known as The Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys of Research and Experimental Development. In 2002 the 6th edition was published.

The manual gives definitions for: basic research, applied research, Research and development; research personnel: researchers, technicians, auxiliary personnel. It also organizes Field of science into main and sub-categories.

It deals primarily with measuring the expenditure and personnel resources devoted to R&D in the industry sectors performing it: higher education, government, business, and private non-profit organisations.

The definitions provided in the Frascati Manual have been adopted by many governments and serve as a common language for discussions of science and technology policy and economic development policy. Originally an OECD standard, it has become an acknowledged standard in R&D studies all over the world and is widely used by various organisations associated with the United Nations and European Union.

Over the past 40 years, the NESTI group has developed a series of documents, known as the "Frascati Family", that includes manuals on R&D (Frascati Manual), innovation (Oslo Manual), human resources (Canberra Manual), technology, balance of payments, and patents as indicators of science and technology.

Three forms of research[edit]

The Frascati Manual classifies research into three categories:[1]

  • Basic research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge about observable phenomena and facts, not directed toward any particular use.
  • Applied research is original investigation to acquire new knowledge directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective.
  • Experimental development is systematic effort, based on existing knowledge from research or practical experience, directed toward creating novel or improved materials, products, devices, processes, systems, or services.

Fields of Science[edit]

The 2002 Frascati Manual included a 'Field of Science' (FOS) classification. After several reviews, a Revised Field of Science and Technology (FOS) classification was published in February 2007 consisting of the following high level groupings:[2]

  1. Natural sciences
  2. Engineering and technology
  3. Medical and Health sciences
  4. Agricultural sciences
  5. Social sciences
  6. Humanities

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