Construction and Validation of Science Culture Index: Results from Comparative Analysis of Engagement, Knowledge and Attitudes to Science: India and Europe
Countries world-wide routinely collate statistics on STS performance indicators such as R&D expenditure, science publications, citations and impact, high-tech employment, and penetration of hightech goods. In parallel there have been several, but often isolated, attempts to define complementary ‘public understanding of science (PUS)’ indicators including concepts such as scientific literacy, public sentiment, interest, and attitudes. This has been somewhat successful, but also controversial. Thus, little progress has been achieved to explicitly combine STS performance indicators and PUS indicators in a composite index of ‘science culture’. This exercise draws conceptual and methodological material used in the construction of such a composite index based on a combined data base of EU (32 countries) and India (23 States). On the basis of these 55 ‘state units’ the theoretical basis, feasibility and validity of a globally portable index of science culture is demonstrated. Details of the analytical options considered and decisions made, particularly in regard to integration of two data sets, identifying and defining indicators, constructing composite indices and finally its validation has been discussed. The discussion inevitably involves a degree of EU-India specific analyses, however, the methodological issues and suggested solutions are of broader interest to researchers on the topic in other contexts.