Measurement and Statistics on Science and Technology: 1920 to the Present (Paperback) book cover

Measurement and Statistics on Science and Technology

1920 to the Present

By Benoît Godin

© 2005 – Routledge

384 pages

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About the Book

How do we objectively measure scientific activities? What proportion of economic activities should a society devote to research and development? How can public-sector and private-sector research best be directed to achieve social goals? Governments and researchers from industrial countries have been measuring science and technology for more than eighty years. This book provides the first comprehensive account of the attempts to measure science and technology activities in Western countries and the successes and shortcomings of statistical systems. Godin guides readers through the historical moments that led to the development of statistics on science and technology and also examines the socio-political dynamics behind social measurement. This enlightening account will be of interest to students and academics investigating science measurement as well as policy makers working in this burgeoning field.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Part One: Constructing Science and Technology Statistics. Section One: The Number Makers 1. Seventy Years of Science and Technology Statistics 2. Taking Demand Seriously: Nesti and the Role of National Statisticians Section Two: Defining Science and Technology 3. Is Research Always Systematic 4. Neglected Scientific Activities: The (Non) Measurement of Related Scientific Activities 5. What's So Difficult About International Statistics? Unesco and the Measurement of Scientific and Technological Activities Section Three: Imagining New Measurements 6. The Emergence of Science and Technology Indicators: Why did Governments Supplement Statistics with the Indicators 7. Measuring Output: When Economics Drives Science and Technology Measurement 8. The Rise of Innovation Surveys: Measuring a Fuzzy Concept Section Four: Dealing with Methodological Problems 9. Metadata: How Footnotes make for Doubtful Numbers Science and Technology Statistical Classifications 10. Tradition and Innovation: The Historical Contingency of Science and Technology Statistical Classifications Part Two: Using Science and Technology Statistics 11. The Most Cherished Indictor: Gross Domestic Expenditures on R&D (Gerd) 12. Technological Gaps: Between Quantitative Evidence and Qualitative Arguments 13. Highly Qualified Personnel: Should we Really Believe in Shortages? 14. Is There Basic Research Without Statistics? 15. Are Statistics Really Useful? Myths and Politics of Science and Technology Indicators

About the Author

Benoît Godin is a professor at INRS in Montreal, Canada. He holds a Dphil in science policy from Sussex (UK) University and has written extensively on science policy, research evaluation and science indicators.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Studies in the History of Science Technology and Medicine aims to stimulate research in the field, concentrating on the twentieth century. It seeks to contribute to our understanding of science, technology and medicine as they are embedded in society, exploring the links between the subjects on the one hand, and the cultural, economic, political and institutional contexts of their genesis and development on the other. Within this framework, and while not favouring any particular methodological approach, the series welcomes studies which examine relations between science, technology, medicine and society in new ways, e.g. the social construction of technologies, large technical systems.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
SCIENCE / General
SCIENCE / History