New UN Report on National R&D Investment and Human Resources–Worldwide

The United Nations UNESCO Institute of Statistics has just released a report that is very interesting to me, and I guess to a small circle of S&T wonks.  It  is a survey of indicators for the S&T enterprises of all the world’s nations–there are over 200 on the list.  The data is mainly for the labor (number of researchers) and capital (R&D investments, i.e. GERD) inputs to the S&T production process. UNESCO seems to be collecting this data every two years now.

The OECD has been doing such surveys annually for decades, but only for its 30 large industrialized members, and during the last decade for 9 additional affiliates.  The largest players that are missed by OECD are India, Brazil, Iran, Pakistan, Ukraine, and Thailand.  I’ve been saying that the OECD data covers roughly 90% of the world’s R&D investment, but the UN report allows one (me) to actually calculate such things–91.9%.

One curious footnote (from me) is how these international agencies deal with Taiwan.  The PRC sits at the UN table, and refuses to let them talk to Taiwan, even to get data from them, apparently.  The UN report has rows in it for the Maldives, Niue, and the Papal See (all with zeros), but none for Taiwan.  According to OECD (where China is not a voting member), Taiwan, which OECD diplomatically calls “Chinese Taipei,” invested $14.9 billion in 2005 (with the usual PPP, year 2000$ normalization).  Orwell called it Newspeak, “the only language whose vocabulary gets smaller every year,” because it tried to eliminate subversive ideas by eliminating the words that describe them from the language (like Taiwan).  I guess other nations are already so scared of the PRC that they newspeak, too.


R. D. Shelton

One thought on “New UN Report on National R&D Investment and Human Resources–Worldwide

  1. shelton Post author

    I asked UNESCO about this, and they were nice enough to confirm that UN policy prohibits them from posting data from Taiwan. They also told me that Taiwan numbers are included in the worldwide totals, however.

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