Innovation: Data Definitions and Sources

Public R&D

2013 data for most countries. 2012 data for provinces. 2012 data for Australia, Switzerland, and the United States.

Expenditures on research and development (R&D) performed by the public (government and higher education) sector as a share of GDP.

Sources: OECD, Main Science and Technology Indicators; Statistics Canada, CANSIM tables 358-0001, 384-0038.

Scientific articles

2012 data. Data were not available for Australia, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Japan, and Switzerland.

This indicator measures the counts of authorship and co-authorship of peer-reviewed scientific articles produced in the natural sciences and engineering per million population. The eight disciplines captured by the “natural sciences and engineering” designation include biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, clinical medicine, physics, biomedical research, and earth sciences and space. Articles with more than one Canadian author residing in different provinces are counted once in Canada, but counted once for each province where one of the authors resides. For example, an article published by three people who live in B.C., Saskatchewan, and Alberta would be counted once in the Canadian total, and counted once each for B.C., Saskatchewan. and Alberta.

Sources: Institut de la statistique Québec, Nombre de publications scientifiques en sciences naturelles et génie et part dans le total canadien, provinces et territoires, 1980 à 2012 and Nombre de publications scientifiques en sciences naturelles et génie et part dans le total mondial, Québec, Ontario, pays du G8, pays nordiques, certains pays émergents et monde, 1980 à 2012; Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 051-0001; OECD.Stat.


2013 data for most countries. 2012 data for provinces and for Canada, Ireland, Norway, and Switzerland. 2011 data for the United States. 2008 data for Australia.

Researchers engaged in R&D is measured as the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) researchers employed for every 1,000 individuals employed in a province or country. FTE “is a measure of the time actually devoted to research and development.” Conventionally, a full-time position entails working full-time hours for a full year. If an employee spends half her time on R&D and half on something else, she would count as 0.5 FTE. Similarly, if five people each worked 1 day per week on R&D for a year, together they would count as 1 FTE.

The indicator includes individuals classified as “researchers” but excludes those classified as “technicians” and “other R&D personnel.” Researchers are defined as scientists and engineers “engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge, products, processes, methods and systems” and include managers “engaged in the planning and management of the scientific and technical aspects of a researcher’s work.”2

Sources: OECD, Main Science and Technology Indicators; Statistics Canada, CANSIM tables 358-0160, 282-0002.


2012 for provinces and Canada. 2011 for most countries. 2010 for Australia, Switzerland, and the United States.

The percentage of households with fixed broadband subscriptions.

Sources: OECD, Broadband Statistics; Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Communications Monitoring Report 2013; Nordicity, Meeting the Challenges in Delivering Broadband Services in Rural and Remote Areas.

Business enterprise R&D

2013 data for most countries. 2012 data for provinces. 2012 data for Australia, Ireland, Switzerland, and the United States.

Expenditures on research and development (R&D) performed by the business sector as a percentage of GDP.

Sources: OECD, Main Science and Technology Indicators; Statistics Canada, CANSIM tables 358-0001, 384-0038.

Venture capital investment

2012–13 data for countries. 2012–14 data for provinces.

This indicator measures venture capital investment (including early and late-stage investment) as a share of GDP. A two-year average is calculated for the international peers and a three-year average for the provinces to smooth out some of the year-to-year variability in venture capital investment, especially in smaller jurisdictions that see few deals. Collecting comparable data on venture capital investment across jurisdictions is challenging, and some variability in performance may be a result of data issues rather than actual differences in performance. As the OECD notes, “there are no standard international definitions of venture capital nor of the breakdown of venture capital investments by stage of development. In addition, the methodology for data collection differs across countries. Data on venture capital are sourced from national or regional venture capital associations that produce them.”3

Sources: OECD, Entrepreneurship At a Glance 2014; Industry Canada, Venture Capital Monitor; Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 384-0038.

ICT investment

2013 data for most provinces and Canada. 2012 data for most countries. 2011 data for Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. 2010 data for Japan. 2008 data for P.E.I.

Investment in information and communications technology (ICT) as a percentage of GDP. ICT investment has three components: software (including pre-packaged software, customized software, and software developed in-house), communications equipment, and IT equipment (computers and related hardware). Statistics Canada data were used for Canada and the provinces. These data are based on Statistics Canada’s redeveloped capital stock program (released in November 2014), which uses new methodologies and classifications that, in turn, have resulted in revisions to investment levels. As a result, OECD’s investment figures for Canada do not match the latest Statistics Canada figures. In the older CANSIM series based on the previous method, computers, telecommunications equipment, and software were three separate ICT components classified under machinery and equipment. In the new CANSIM series, there is no longer a separate category for telecommunications equipment; instead, it is classified under computers and electronics. Therefore, total ICT investment for Canada and the provinces is now calculated as the sum of investment in software and investment in computers and electronics.

Sources: OECD, Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014; Statistics Canada, CANSIM tables 031-0007, 384-0038.

Entrepreneurial ambition

2014 data. Data were not available for P.E.I. and New Brunswick.

Entrepreneurial ambition is measured as the percentage of the population, aged 18 to 64, who report being involved in early-stage entrepreneurial activity, including those who self-identify as a nascent entrepreneur (i.e., actively involved in setting up a business that they will own or co-own, but which has not yet paid wages, salaries, or any other payments to owners for more than 3 months) or an owner-manager of a new business (i.e., an owner or part-owner and manager of a running business that has paid salaries, wages, and other payments for more than 3 but less than 42 months).4 Data are drawn from the Global Enterprise Monitor’s annual global survey of more than 2000 individuals in each of more than 100 countries.

Given that the data are based on self-reported activity rather than actual business starts, the results are used as an indicator not of entrepreneurial activity, but of respondents’ enthusiasm for entrepreneurship—that is, as an indicator of entrepreneurial ambition.

Sources: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Key Indicators; Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Canada Report 2014 and Canada Report 2013.

Patents by population

2011 data.

Patents per population are measured as the number of patents filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) per million population.

Sources: OECD, Patents by regions, OECD.Stat; Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 051-0001.

Enterprise entry

2012 data. Provinces only.

The enterprise entry rate is measured as the number of new businesses as a per cent of the number of active (i.e., entrant + incumbent) businesses in a given year. A business is defined as a private sector employer enterprise—incorporated or unincorporated—that issues one or more statements of remuneration paid (i.e., T4 slips) to their employee(s) for tax purposes. Business “entrants” are those with employees in the current year, but none in the previous year, while incumbent businesses are those with employees in the current and previous years.5

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 527-0007.

Labour productivity

2013 data.

Labour productivity is measured as GDP per hour worked in U.S. dollars at 2005 purchasing power parities and 2005 prices.

Sources: OECD.Stat; Statistics Canada, CANSIM tables 383-0031, 384-0038, 384-0039.


1    Statistics Canada, “Research and Development Personnel.”

2    Ibid.

3    OECD, Entrepreneurship At a Glance 2014, (Paris: OECD, 2014), 22, 102-4; Industry Canada, Venture Capital Monitor.

4    Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Adult Population Survey Measures, 2015.

5    Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 527-0007.