STAR METRICS (Science and Technology for America's Reinvestment: Measuring the EffecT of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science) is a partnership (STAR METRICS Consortium) between United States federal science agencies and research institutions to document the return on investment, research impact, and social outcomes of federally funded research and development. It is led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation, (NSF), and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
It was announced by OSTP on 28 May 2010 in a press release titled "STAR METRICS: New Way to Measure the Impact of Federally Funded Research".
A pilot was undertaken by the following seven institutions in a Federal Demonstration Partnership:
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Delaware
- George Mason University
- California Institute of Technology
- University of Alabama
- University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
The imperative for the launch of STAR METRICS was the passing of the post-global financial crisis American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which included a stimulus package for research and development because it was widely believed that investments in science and research would stimulate economic growth. Part of the bill required recipients to report quarterly on job creation. The ARRA reporting requirements are distinct from STAR METRICS. The latter was established to provide evidence that investment in research had a positive effect on the economy, because there is little thoroughly conclusive evidence that this is actually the case - even though it is a generally accepted assumption.
In 2010 STAR METRICS was given a five year commitment from agencies, and NIH and NSF committed $1 million combined. Other federal funders that have joined are the United States Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Agriculture. Research institutions voluntarily join the consortium.
The formal governance was put in place in January 2012, with NIH hosting the project.
The goal of the program was set to develop measures for the impact of federal investments on science, society, the workforce and the economy. To this end, a database was set up of all federally funded researchers and cleaned to ensure no confusions of people with the same or similar names etc. were made. This database was then used to match with other accessible databases such as public records of patents, institutional financial records, payroll data, as well as more traditional scientific output indicators such as scientific citations.
STAR METRICS quickly started tracking job creation from ARRA and non-ARRA research grants at 70 universities, and subsequently moved on to tracking other outcomes of investment in research.
- STAR METRICS: New Way to Measure the Impact of Federally Funded Research, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
- FDP, STAR METRICS page
- Julia Lane (25 March 2010). "Let's make science metrics more scientific". Nature 464 (7288): 488–489. doi:10.1038/464488a.
- Colin Macilwain (9 June 2010). "Science economics: What science is really worth". Nature 465: 682–684. doi:10.1038/465682a.
- Colin Macilwain (28 September 2011). "A multi-billion dollar injection: Stimulus—response". Nature 477: 524–525. doi:10.1038/477524a.
- Gali Halevi (March 2012). Research Trends (27) http://www.researchtrends.com/issue-27-march-2012/scientific-evaluation-and-metrics-an-interview-with-julia-lane/
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- David Kramer (August 2010). "Initiative aims to quantify the paybacks from basic research". Physics Today: 20.
- Julia Lane, Stefano Bertuzzi (11 February 2011). "Measuring the Results of Science Investments". Science 331: 678–680.
- "EU looks to US model for measuring R&D impact". EurActiv. 16 April 2010.