In June 1963, OECD experts met with the NESTI group (National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators) at the Villa Falcioneri in Frascati, Italy. The result of their work was the the first version of Frascati Manual, which is officially known as The Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys of Research and Experimental Development. Since then it was revised several times. In 2002 the 6th edition was published that attempted to address some of the issues related to globalisation.
This 250+ page document primarily deals with measuring the resources devoted to R&D. It outlines the methodology for collecting and using the R&D statistics in the OECD countries. Measuring science and technology expenditures is more complicated than with services, manufacturing or investments, even when done or a single country. This becomes increasingly difficult when you need to combine statistical data from several countries. Add to that the increasing importance of science and technology in a modern society and you can easily see why measuring R&D expenditures is vital for performance evaluation and policy development.
The Frascati Manual was very important for understanding the role of science and technology in economic development. The definitions provided in this document became internationally accepted and serve as a common language for discussions of science and technology policies. Originally an OECD standard, it has become an acknowledged standard in R&D studies all other the world and is widely used by various UN and EU organisations.
Over the past 40 years, the NESTI group has developed a series of documents, known as "Frascati Family", that includes manuals on R&D (Frascati Manual), innovation (Oslo Manual), human resources (Canberra Manual), technological balance of payments and patents as science and technology indicators.
The electronic versions of these documents can be found on the OECD site (http://www.oecd.org/bookshop) and elsewhere on the Net. A paper version is also available: Frascati Manual, ISBN: 9264-19903-9.