Commercializing the laboratory: the relationship between faculty patenting and publishing
The recent increase in patenting by university researchers has concerned observers asking if increased patenting is associated with less open publication of research results by university researchers. Access to university-based research knowledge is critical to innovation in many areas of industry. As university researchers increasingly patent their research results, the availability of these results to follow-on innovators may be affected. Patenting may increase dissemination of knowledge through public disclosure. However, many researchers have expressed concern that the increased focus on patenting and commercialization is compromising the historically open nature of university research or that university research in patentable areas is crowding out research in more basic science. Only limited empirical evidence exists regarding the relationship between patenting and publishing by university researchers. Our study adds to this limited evidence with an empirical investigation based on a panel data set for a very broad sample of university researchers. Results indicate that publication production by university researchers does not decrease with patent inventorship, and in fact increases significantly. Analysis of the average number of citations to a researcher’s publications by future publications indicates that papers published in the year of a patent application are cited more heavily, but this relationship is not robust to controlling for the count of that year’s publications by the researcher, suggesting that the positive relationship is related to quality of research rather than patenting itself. Further research on citations to patent-related publication is needed to explore these results.
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