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Does Good Science Lead to Valuable Knowledge? Biotechnology Firms and the Evolutionary Logic of Citation Patterns

  • Michelle Gittelman


    (Department of Management and Organizational Behavior, New York University, Stern School of Business, 44 West 4th Street, Tisch 7-11, New York, New York 10012)

  • Bruce Kogut


    (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, and Centre de Recherche en Gestion, Ecole Polytechnique, 1, rue Descartes, Paris 75005, France)

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    This study looks at the United States biotechnology industry as a community of practice caught between two evolutionary logics by which valuable scientific knowledge and valuable innovations are selected. We analyze the publications and patents of 116 biotechnology firms during the period 1988--1995. In models that link scientific capabilities to patent citations, we show that scientific ideas are not simply inputs into inventions; important scientific ideas and influential patents follow different and conflicting selection logics. Publication, collaboration, and science intensity are associated with patented innovations; however, important scientific papers are negatively associated with high-impact innovations. These results point to conflicting logics between science and innovation, and scientists must contribute to both while inhabiting a single epistemic community. We identify individuals listed on patents and scientific papers and find they effectively integrate science with innovation, leading to more successful innovations. Our findings suggest that the role of the small, research-intensive firm is to create a repository of knowledge; to act as an organizational mechanism to combine the capabilities of versatile scientists within and outside the boundaries of the firm; and to manage the selection of scientific ideas to produce valuable technical innovations.

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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 49 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 366-382

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:49:y:2003:i:4:p:366-382
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