Basis of Budget Statistics
Budget statistics are presented on three bases: (1) budget authority, corresponding to the funds appropriated each year; (2) obligations, indicating the amounts of contracts and grants entered into; and (3) outlays, representing the amounts actually expended (see Appendix 2: Definitions). Because budget decisions in the Executive Branch and in Congress are almost always made in budget authority, this metric most accurately reflects current changes in budget policies. Outlay trends lag a year or more behind decisions in budget authority, and obligations estimates are often adjusted to meet fiscal or budget strategy demands. We have, therefore, selected budget authority as the most meaningful measure of budget decisions and trends and used it in nearly all cases throughout the report.
Basic Research, Applied Research, and Development
The allocation of agency budgets among basic research, applied research, and development is not an exact procedure; a certain arbitrariness is inevitably involved (see Appendix 2: Definitions). The severe time pressures under which these figures are compiled for OMB are also a problem. Nevertheless, there is presumably some consistency within each agency's estimates so that the trends are meaningful.
Due to rounding in the tables, the detail may not add to the totals, and the percentage changes may not correspond exactly to the difference shown. Most figures are rounded to the nearest million; totals and percentage changes are calculated from unrounded figures. In the Overview and Agency Tables, subtotals are occasionally provided for additional detail. These subtotals are shown in italics to indicate that they do not add into the totals.
Please see Appendix 1: Methodology and Data Sources for more information.