Is academic patenting detrimental to high quality research? An empirical analysis of the relationship between scientific careers and patent applications
Universities are increasingly concerned with patents and commercialization of internal research. One of the possible dangers of academic patenting is to divert researchers from long-term-oriented research and to delay the publication of results in open science. The question of unintended consequences of technology transfer and crowd-out effect is a critical issue when trying to foster technical change and ensure provision of top quality research in the long run. Nevertheless, little evidence has been provided until now to support either view. The aim of this paper is to search for evidence of rivalry between academic patenting and scientific research in a panel of 1323 researchers along 30 years. Drawing on bibliometrics, biographical and patent data of a sample of (tenured and untenured) publicly-funded researchers working in the fields of Engineering Chemistry and Nanotechnologies for New Materials, we implement two econometric models in order to understand if patenting and inventing is likely to affect the quantity and the quality of publications in a researcher’s career. Results show that the occurrence of a patent is positively associated with the quality of previous and the quantity of later scientific publications.
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