STIP Compass is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the OECD that aims to collect together in one place quantitative and qualitative data on national trends in science, technology and innovation (STI) policy. The portal supports the continuous monitoring and analysis of countries’ STI policies and seeks to become a central platform for policy research and advice supporting government officials, analysts and scholars. Through its various interfaces, you may seamlessly explore and download data to analyse country policies on a wide range of STI policy issues. Data is freely accessible following the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable).
The STI policy analysis community can also analyse the data to answer its own questions. The EC and OECD are committed to open data access and have made the latest STIP Compass database fully portable and downloadable via a query builder tool. The data model used to structure STIP Compass can also be viewed here and reused in other information management systems using this machine readable format.
What are the main features of STIP Compass?
The STIP Compass incorporates more than 500 interactive dashboards and provides a sophisticated search tool with smart filtering that facilitates policy discovery. These interfaces allow users to seamlessly query the database to identify country policies on a wide range of STI policy issues. Data is freely accessible following the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable). STIP Compass has been built using the NoSQL proprietary software, MarkLogic. It has benefitted enormously from parallel IT development work going on inside the OECD Secretariat, where MarkLogic is used as part of an internal knowledge management system, known as ONE-Sight. Taxonomies lay at the heart of the system. These are conceptual models of the world of STI policy that STIP Compass uses to structure and link the data.
Where does STIP Compass data come from?
The main data source for STIP Compass is countries’ responses to the EC-OECD STI Policy survey, which is run every two years. The most recent edition was administered at the end of 2017. The survey is addressed to national government officials working on STI policies in a range of public administrations, including ministries and agencies. The survey is wide in scope, covering policy issues around public research, business innovation and entrepreneurship, knowledge transfer, innovation skills, innovation for societal challenges and governance of the STI system. For the most part, countries are asked to list and characterise the policy initiatives they are implementing to address a particular challenge, such as the innovation deficit typically found in SMEs or knowledge transfer gaps between universities and firms. All policy initiatives are characterised using a standard template. This template uses taxonomies of policy instruments and target groups that allow comparison of policy initiatives within and between countries.
STIP Compass links the country survey data to other open data sources, notably statistics and publications. This is done semantically using a taxonomy of innovation policy related concepts. The current version of STIP Compass links to just a handful of statistics in the country dashboards, but ultimately, the goal is to semantically link to hundreds of indicators across the whole site. STIP Compass already links to publications from Science Direct and the RePEc EconPaper series, but the ambition is to extend this to other academic journals, EC publications and OECD publications.
Open data should be reused responsibly, and users should exercise care when using the STI Policy survey dataset. The data consists of self-reported descriptions of (mostly) national STI policy initiatives, collected through the biennial EC-OECD STI Policy survey of (mostly) government ministries. While the EC and OECD strive towards a harmonised approach for reporting policy initiatives, countries still vary in the ways they report their STI policies. Some countries have provided complete and detailed information on their policy initiatives, others less so. This is essential to keep in mind when doing cross-country comparisons. Care should also be exercised when interpreting the data. For example, what meaning should be given to the fact that one country uses twice as many policy initiatives than another to address the same policy theme? Does it mean the countries vary in the policy attention they give to the policy theme? Or does it mean one country is more efficient than the other in addressing the policy theme? Such questions are difficult to answer even with detailed research and certainly cannot be answered using the STIP Compass dataset alone.
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