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What is STIP Compass?

The STIP Compass is an initiative of the European Commission (EC) and the OECD to collect together in one place quantitative and qualitative data on national trends in science, technology and innovation (STI) policy. Its history can be traced back 20 years to the start of biennial OECD surveys of countries’ STI policies. The OECD has since 2012 stored the data from these surveys in an open database with limited search and linking capabilities. STIP Compass is a new generation semantic platform for storing, accessing and linking country policy data. It has been developed as part of a joint EC-OECD project, known as REITER, that enhances analysis of harmonised country information and supports its open accessibility. The current version of STIP Compass is in beta mode; further features and data will be added gradually over the next few months.

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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.

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. A tagging vocabulary of more than 1 000 terms, developed for the OECD-World Bank Innovation Policy Platform, is also used to link the data in the policy explorer interface.

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