The application may be interesting for users, but first the methodology needs to be specified so that the users are clear about it and know exactly how to interpret the scores.
Hence there are several issues that would further improve the application:
– please specify how the related variety is calculated. A formula for that calculation is missing from the Guideline for the ONLINE S3 toolbox Tool/application Related Variety Analysis
– p. 6: “the application uses EUROSTAT’s data with regards to the regional employment statistics. The worker specialization of each region is extracted by this data source “ – please specify directly which data the application uses, together with their EUROSTAT codes. This would help end users know which variables they are dealing with
– p. 6: “If the LQ of a sector is beyond a certain threshold, the sector is considered to be “specialized”“ – please specify which threshold in order to help users interpret the results;
– p. 6: “To extract the technological specialization of a region, the application uses data coming from PATSTAT, which is the main database where most of the European and International patents are stored. The data which have been retrieved by this database, have been combined and have been used to calculate multiple statistical factors which are further used to extract the technological specialization“. The application would be more transparent if it were specified how exactly the technological specialization is calculated. For the same reason one would also need to see clearly which data exactly the application uses
– p. 6: “Perform statistical analysis to retrieve sectors with high correlation “. Please specify methodology for this calculation. Policy makers would be interested to know.
– p. 8: “We have chosen to display the sectors that correspond to the 75% of the total“ – please specify this exactly at the website, so that the users can see this immediately when doing the analysis. This would also enhance transparency of the application.
– p. 11 – “These red squares are displayed only if this sector appears to be highly correlated with other sectors. The correlation between sectors has been already calculated by using global and european patent related data.“ – Please specify what means to be “highly correlated“. Please also specify which global and European patent related data exactly have been used in this calculation.
Furthermore, there are currently two issues re functionality of the application:
– At the moment (2/10 and 3/10 2017) one cannot login
– The drop-down menu at the opening website (http://relatedvariety.s3platform.eu/app.php) does not show all EU member states; it only works if one types in the name of the country one is looking to analyse. Although this is exactly the way it is described in the guidelines, it would make it easier for the users if they had a full-fledged drop-down menu.