June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Posted on behalf of Julia Lane (National Science Foundation), Stefano Bertuzzi (National Institute of Health), Bill Valdez (Department of Energy), and Mya Strauss (Environmental Protection Agency)


The STAR METRICS Project is a collaboration between federal science agencies, including Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), National Institute of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and over 75 research institutions to document the effects of science and technology (S&T) investments.  More institutions and agencies continue to join as the project builds momentum, including producing jobs reports for participating institutions.

It was originally developed as a pilot project in collaboration with the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP). STAR METRICS is a new tool that will improve the effectiveness of federal research investments and also provide additional transparency and accountability; developing a data infrastructure capable of linking data from different sources, as well as models and tools, to describe the innovation process.

STAR METRICS has two levels. Level I documents the initial effect of S&T investments on employment using administrative records from research institutions. Level II builds on Level I by connecting sources of funding, recipients of funding, interactions among scientists, both in the public and private sector, and the outputs and outcomes of research over time.

Current activities

STAR METRICS has a staged development process for Level II:

  • Short-term (first three years) efforts are focusing on developing the core information platform capable of linking a set of already existing and available databases and data elements ingested from various sources, producing reports and a web-based reporting system.
  • Medium-term (second three years) will further augment the sources linked by the STAR METRICS system (with particular emphasis on progress reports and researchers’ profiles) and further automate the process.  In this time-frame, STAR METRCS will emphasize the creation of standard research methodologies and products that can be used by participants to document the benefits of S&T investments.
  • Long-term (subsequent years) will see the possible integration of tax data as well as the inclusion of the international community into the STAR METRICS project.  We expect to see the development of international data and analysis standards that permits international comparisons and benchmarking.  Additional complex data sources will be linked by the STAR METRICS system.

Several initial steps are being taken. One is a partnership between two interagency groups, Research Business Models (RBM) and Science of Science Policy (SOSP), and the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP). The partnership will explore the feasibility of establishing a central, government-wide profile by building on the new technological capacity to capture scientific data in a systematic fashion. It will build on the successful experience of the Brazilian Lattes Platform as well as leverage a variety of investments in data and tools such as the automated data systems of research institutions, a variety of NIH investments (e.g. NIH RePORT – RePORTER and IMPAC II), a variety of NSF investments (e.g. and CITESEER), STAR METRICS, EPA’s HERO database, DOE’s and publication datasets. An important component that will facilitate all aspects of application submission and reporting, but particularly the auto-population of data, is the development of a common persistent researcher ID to reduce name ambiguity.

Another is an effort within several agencies to prototype using the STAR METRICS data infrastructure to improve their assessment and evaluation activities.

The approach has generated a great deal of interest internationally; Japan is launching the Initiative for Development of Science of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy. The STAR METRICS team is also briefing funding agencies in the European Union, Brazil, and China on the approach.

You can also find out more at and here [subscription required].

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