Misled by Data? Review of Data Sources in National Intellectual Capital Research


  • Hannele Orjala




National Intellectual Capital, data use, data sources, literature review, data bias, data quality


This paper is a review of National Intellectual Capital (NIC) literature that focuses on the documented use of data and the data sources used in the NIC literature. The topic is important as the NIC research is largely based on data analysis and thus the use of data and the data sources used ultimately shape the reality around what is the big picture of national intellectual capital, as it is understood today. While this is the case, questions about use of data and the data sources used have not been in the core of the research tradition. The review focuses on 57 systematically collected NIC articles with a documented data source, published between the years 1991 and 2018. The results show that the majority of data-based NIC research is concentrated around a set of often-used data sources, while the rest of the data-based NIC literature uses a fragmented set of data sources. New data sources are rarely utilized. The documentation of data and data source use in the literature leaves room for criticism. Researchers and the users of NIC analyses benefit, if they are able to evaluate the quality, the coverage, and the relevance of the data sources used as a basis of NIC analyses. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that data sources used in the NIC literature are the main focus of a literature review. 



3 Jun 2021



General Paper