Indicators and methods

The databases of the Science and Technology Observatory (OST) are used to calculate indicators for specific analyses, such as the Report on the Scientific Position of France, or annual synthesisreports for the “Higher Education and Research in France, Facts and Figures” published by the Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI).
The indicators produced by the OST serve a variety of purposes. They are used, for example, to describe the scientific position of France in the world. They may also be used by institutions to elaborate their strategy or feed their self-evaluation process. Finally, they inform a variety of documents produced by the Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation.
OST also works on an ongoing basis to adapt its methods and the databases it uses in line with international best practice.

Share of world publications

A country’s share of world publications is the ratio between the number of publications produced by that country and the number of publications produced worldwide. The publications of a country are those where at least one of the research laboratories that authored the publication is located in that country.

For various bibliometric indicators, either full or fractional countingmay be used. The full counting method gives a full weight of one to each publication of a country. The fractional counting method gives less weight to collaborative publications:For instance, if a publication has been co-authored by five researchers and two of these researchers are affiliated in country A, the publication has a weight of 2 / 5 = 0.4 in the calculation of the indicators for country A.

Impact index

Citations provide a means of inferring the relevance of a given document to the scientific community as documents are subsequently published.

The normalised impact measure at the country level is calculated as the ratio between the average number of citations received by the documents published by authors in a given country and the world’s citation average, over the same time period and for the same document type and subject area. The values show the relationship of the country's average impact to the  world average, which is 1, i.e. an index of 0.8 means that the document cited is 20% less than the world average and 1.3 means that the document is cited is 30% more than the world average.

A country’s expected impact index is the impact index that the country would have if its publications were cited as much as the average for publications in the journals in which it publishes (thus taking into account the reputation of those journals).

Specialisation index 

The specialisation Index of a country in a discipline is calculated by dividing that discipline share of publications within a given country by the world share of that particular discipline . For a country with  very  similar  distribution  by  discplines  to  the  world,  specialisation values  should  be  very  close  to  1.  A  value of 2 for a given discipline and country indicates that the weight of that discipline in the country is two times as large as for the entire world.

World share of all patent applications observed for a given patent office

A country’s share of all patent applications for a given office (for example, the European Patent Office - EPO) is the ratio between the number of patent applications from that country and the total number of patent applications recorded for that Office.

Most of the indicators are based on the date of publication of the patent applications (18 months after initial filing for the EPO, but up to 3 to 5 years for the United States Office) and the address of the inventor.

Technological specialisation index

As with publications, a country’s technological specialisation index is the ratio between the country's world share in a field of technology and the country's world share in all fields combined

Other indicators

Where applicable, other indicators may be calculated (citation classes, co-publication indicators, etc.).