U.S. Launches Federal R&D Dashboard - InformationWeek
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U.S. Launches Federal R&D Dashboard

The beta site allows people to see investments made by the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation over the last 10 years and the results of those efforts.

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The U.S. government's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is launching an online dashboard to track research and development activity so people can keep an eye on the progress of investment from the agencies funding the bulk of university research.

The new OSTP R&D Dashboard, currently online in beta form, allows people to view federal R&D investments from two agencies -- the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) -- in the decade between 2000 and 2009, according to a White House blog post by Kei Koizumi, assistant director for federal R&D at the OSTP.

More than 80% of the federal government's support of university-based research comes from these two agencies, which together play a major role in funding basic research in the United States.

The new dashboard is one of several the federal government has launched in the past 18 months as part of the Open Government Directive, an effort by the Obama administration to be more transparent in its activities. and its related site the federal IT dashboard are two others that allow people to see where the government spends its money as well as the state of federal IT investment, respectively.

The R&D Dashboard specifically fulfills one of the promises of the OSTP's Open Government Plan, which was to improve the transparency and usability of federal R&D data.

Through the dashboard -- which uses visual tools and maps to help people analyze and sort through data -- users can view data on federal R&D awards to research institutions and see the results of that work, including publications, patent applications, and patents produced by researchers.

The site also sorts investments in various ways, such as by state, congressional district, and level of research institution. People also can focus on research based on topic areas of interest to them at those different levels, according to the post.

The R&D Dashboard aggregates publicly available data from several agencies, including the NSF, the NIH, and the Department of Commerce's Patent and Trademark Office.

Since the site is in beta, the OSTP and the Office of Management and Budget, which collaborated on the site, are inviting user feedback to improve the site in the future. As the OSTP evolves the platform, the R&D Dashboard also will include information from other federal R&D investments, according to the post.

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