The Colombian Observatory of Science and Technology: Between Relevant Context and Internationally Comparable Indicators
Policymakers need statistics and indicators to diagnose the situation of the sector or issue at stake and then propose policies and programs based on evidence, and to monitor and evaluate public administration based on results. This is also the case in science, technology, and innovation (STI). In contrast to economic and social statistics, STI indicators are not always a priority for national statistical offices (NSOs), thus different types of organizations take on that responsibility. There are very few countries around the world with observatories for the design and production of STI indicators; typically government organizations in charge of STI policymaking and funding or NSO handle these activities. The purposes of this study are to assess the evolution and the results of the Colombian Observatory of Science and Technology (OCyT for its name in Spanish)—a specific chosen model for the production of STI indicators—and to highlight key institutional factors that should be taken into consideration if the model is intended to be replicated in other contexts. The research question was to assess credibility as the key dimension in the development of statistical capacity; therefore, the questionnaire given to OCyT’s stakeholders was oriented to determine the technical capacity (various functions performed) and autonomy (determined by the organizational model) gained throughout the Observatory’s existence. This is of special relevance because observatories such as OCyT are purposely created and usually are not governmental institutions, and as a result they must build statistical capacity and gain credibility among stakeholders.