How can we measure the performance of the national research and innovation system? The indicators include scientific publications, transnational patents and the number of visiting researchers. Germany is also a European leader when it comes to its share of world trade in research-intensive goods.
The performance of national research and innovation systems is regarded as the central factor in safeguarding entrepreneurial competitiveness and employment in knowledge-based economies over the long term. With regard to key indicators that describe the output of research and innovation, Germany has succeeded in holding its ground, even improving its position in the international arena in recent years. These indicators include scientific publications, transnational patents and the share of world trade in research-intensive goods. This development can also be seen in the results of pertinent composite indicators.
In recent years, the number of scientific publications originating in Germany has continued to climb. The frequency with which the published results were cited in other publications also rose accordingly, while an increasing proportion of publications from Germany are among the most cited works in the world. In addition, a further rise in patenting activities has been observed over the last few years. With regard to its share of world trade in research-intensive goods, Germany is a European leader.
By both European and international standards, the performance of the German R&I system is considered extremely high. Nevertheless, a selective examination of individual indicators fails to do justice to the complex, multi-dimensional nature of this topic as they merely reflect certain aspects of the R&I system. Therefore, the following section will also take a closer look at selected results of pertinent composite indicators  from benchmarking studies, like the Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS), the acatech/BDI Innovation Indicator (II), the Global Innovation Index (GII) and the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI).
 Composite indicators are obtained by compiling individual indicators into a single index.