Nowcasting EU innovation indicators using GitHub data

This exploratory paper presents the results of an analysis of the opportunities and challenges for incorporating Big data into the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS).

In the EIS, I used GitHub data to nowcast EIS indicators. See a summary below:

Open source software development has revolutionised the digital economy, making it possible for small businesses to access state-of-the-art technologies developed by communities of volunteers. The vast majority of the server infrastructure of the internet uses Linux, an open source operating system, and the same is true for Android, the dominant smartphone platform. The widespread availability of open source programming and analytical tools is one of the drivers for the diffusion of data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning across the economy. None of these ‘innovations in innovation’ involving less traditional forms of intellectual property are, however, captured in the EIS, which currently only includes patenting, trademarks and design rights applications in its ‘Intellectual Assets’ dimension. This dimension could be augmented with new indicators based on open source development activity extracted from GitHub, the dominant platform for collaborative software development, with more than 24 million global users. The information resulting from this analysis could also feed into other parts of the EIS, including the ‘Linkages’ and ‘SMEs with products and process innovation’ dimensions of the ‘Innovation Activities’ section.

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