Fields of science and technology classifications

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This piece aims to summarize popular classifications of science and technology.

1 The OECD Frascati classification of science and technology (FOS)

“The Frascati Manual was originally written by and for the experts in OECD member countries who collect and issue national data on research and development (R&D). Over the years, it has become the standard of conduct for R&D surveys and data collection not only in the OECD and the European Union, but also in several non-member economies, for example, through the science and technology surveys of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).” (Innovation in science, technology and industry, Frascati Manual: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development, 6th edition (retrieved July 7, 2013).

Both versions distinguish six top-level categories: 1. Natural sciences; 2. Engineering and technology; 3. Medical and health sciences; 4. Agricultural sciences; 5. Social sciences; 6. Humanities.

1.1 (OECD FOS 2002)

This classification is still in use in some places, but is now superseded by FOS 2007

1. Natural Sciences
1.1 Mathematics and computer sciences
1.2 Physical sciences
1.3 Chemical sciences
1.4 Earth and related environmental sciences
1.5 Biological sciences
2. Engineering and Technology
2.1 Civil engineering
2.2 Electrical engineering, electronics
2.3 Other engineering sciences
3. Medical and Health Sciences
3.1 Basic medicine
3.2 Clinical medicine
3.3 Health sciences
3.4 Health biotechnology
3.5 Other medical sciences
4. Agricultural Sciences
4.1 Agriculture, forestry, fisheries and allied sciences
4.2 Veterinary medicine
4.1 Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries
4.2 Animal and dairy science
4.3 Veterinary science
4.4 Agricultural biotechnology
4.5 Other agricultural sciences
5. Social Sciences
5.1 Psychology
5.2 Economics
5.3 Educational sciences
5.4 Other social sciences
6. Humanities
6.1 History
6.2 Languages and literature
6.3 Other humanities

1.2 OECD FOS 2007

Also known as Revised Field of Science and Technology (FOS) classification or Frascati manual 2007

1. Natural Sciences
1.1 Mathematics
1.2 Computer and information sciences
1.3 Physical sciences
1.4 Chemical sciences
1.5 Earth and related environmental sciences
1.6 Biological sciences
1.7 Other natural sciences
2. Engineering and Technology
2.1 Civil engineering
2.2 Electrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineering
2.3 Mechanical engineering
2.4 Chemical engineering
2.5 Materials engineering
2.6 Medical engineering
2.7 Environmental engineering
2.8 Environmental biotechnology
2.9 Industrial Biotechnology
2.10 Nano-technology
2.11 Other engineering and technologies
3. Medical and Health Sciences
3.1 Basic medicine
3.2 Clinical medicine
3.3 Health sciences
3.4 Health biotechnology
3.5 Other medical sciences
4. Agricultural Sciences
4.1 Agriculture, forestry, fisheries and allied sciences
4.2 Veterinary medicine
4.1 Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries
4.2 Animal and dairy science
4.3 Veterinary science
4.4 Agricultural biotechnology
4.5 Other agricultural sciences
5. Social Sciences
5.1 Psychology
5.2 Economics
5.3 Educational sciences
5.4 Other social sciences
5.1 Psychology
5.2 Economics and business
5.3 Educational sciences
5.3 Sociology
5.5 Law
5.6 Political Science
5.7 Social and economic geography
5.8 Media and communications
5.7 Other social sciences
6. Humanities
6.1 History
6.2 Languages and literature
6.3 Other humanities
6.1 History and archaeology
6.2 Languages and literature
6.3 Philosophy, ethics and religion
6.4 Art (arts, history of arts, performing arts, music)
6.5 Other humanities


Adopted by:

  • OECD
  • UNstats. Quote: “This classification should be used for the R&D expenditure of the government, higher education and PNP (Private Non-Profit) sectors and if possible of the BE (Business enterprise) sector and for personnel data in all sectors.”
  • EC Eurostat metadata directives
  • Several local government agencies

2 UNESCO nomenclature for fields of science and technology

The Proposed international standard nomenclature for fields of science and technology was proposed in 1973 and 1974 by the Division of Science Policy and Statistics for Science and Technology of UNESCO and adopted by the Scientific Advisory Committee. This is a classification system widely used in knowledge management of research projects and dissertations. Categories are divided into three hierarchical levels:
  • Fields: Refering to general sections. Encoded with two digits and comprises several disciplines.
  • Disciplines: Provide an overview of specialty groups in Science and Technology. Encoded with four digits. Despite being different from each other disciplines with cross references, or within the same field, are considered to have common characteristics.
  • Subdisciplines: Entries are the more specific elements of the nomenclature and represent the activities that take place within a discipline. Encoded with six digits. In turn, must correspond to individual specialties in science and technology.
(SKOS, retrieved July 9, 2013)


Fields

11 Logic
12 Mathematics
21 Astronomy and astrophysics
22 Physics
23 Chemistry
24 Life Sciences
25 Earth and Space Sciences
31 Agricultural Sciences
32 Medical Sciences
33 Technological Sciences
51 Anthropology
52 Demographics
53 Economic Sciences
54 Geography
55 History
56 Juridical Sciences and Law
57 Linguistics
58 Pedagogy
59 Political Science
61 Psychology
62 Science of Arts and Letters
63 Sociology
71 Ethics
72 Philosophy

3 Links

4 Bibliography

  • Benoît Godin, Tradition and Innovation: The Historical Contingency of R&D Statistical Classifications , Project on the History and Sociology of S&T Statistics (2001), Working Paper No 11 [1]
  • OECD (2007). REVISED FIELD OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (FOS) CLASSIFICATION IN THE FRASCATI MANUAL, 26 Feb 2007. PDF
  • OECD (2002). Frascati Manual: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development, 6th edition home page