Measuring the productivity of an R&D organization is extremely tricky. Productivity is usually defined as a ratio of an output, like number of cars produced on an assembly line, to an input, like the wages paid the workers. While R&D may have a measurable input, the output is often intangible and difficult to quantify. This is further complicated because the return from an R&D department may not be realized for one or two decades,which means the time lag is much higher than in factory measurements. Furthermore, many researchers believe that this kind of measurement may be counterproductive,since the mere act of measurement could reduce R&D productivity. Nevertheless, companies continue to evaluate R&D with the crude methods available as they desperately look for more effective, quantitative methods.
© 1985 Industrial Research Institute, Inc.
Pappas, Richard A., and Donald S. Remer. "Measuring R&D Productivity." Research Management 28.3 (1985): 15-22.
Previously linked to as: http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/u?/irw,449.
Publisher pdf, posted with permission.