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Inventorship and Authorship in Patent-Publication Pairs: an Enquiry into the Economics of Scientific Credit

  • Francesco Lissoni

    (Università degli Studi di Brescia and KITeS, Bocconi Univerity - Milan - Italy)

  • Fabio Montobbio

    (Università dell'Insubria, Varese and KITeS, Bocconi Univerity - Milan - Italy)

Authorship and inventorship are attribution rights that contribute to the reputation of individual scientists, but have to be distributed across several individuals, due to the importance of teamwork in both science and technology. For academic teams that both publish and patent their research results, we can compare the social and legal norms that regulate the joint distribution of these two types of attribution rights. We use text-mining techniques to identify 681 “patent-publication pairs” (related sets of patents and publications), for a sample of Italian academic scientists. On average, the number of coauthors is larger than the number of co-inventors, especially in medical-related fields. First and last authors have a lower probability of being excluded from inventorship, as suggested by patent laws. However, the probability of exclusion also declines with seniority, as expected from social norms. Longlasting doubts on the reliability of authorship as a tool for allocating scientific credit are reinforced, and can be extended to inventorship.

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Paper provided by KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy in its series KITeS Working Papers with number 224.

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Length: pages 46
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision: Nov 2008
Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp224
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  1. Francesco Lissoni & Patrick Llerena & Maureen McKelvey & Bulat Sanditov, 2007. "Academic Patenting in Europe: New Evidence from the KEINS Database," KITeS Working Papers 202, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jun 2007.
  2. Paula E. Stephan, 1996. "The Economics of Science," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1199-1235, September.
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