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We investigate the scientific productivity of Italian academic inventors, namely academic researchers designated as inventors on patent applications to the European Patent Office, 1978-1999. We use a novel longitudinal data set comprising 299 academic inventors, and we match them with an equal number of non-patenting researchers. We enquire whether a trade-off between publishing and patenting, or a trade-off between basic and applied research exists, on the basis of the number and quality of publications. We find no trace of such a trade-off, and find instead a strong and positive relationship between patenting and publishing, even in basic science. Our results suggest, however, that it is not patenting per se that boosts scientific productivity, but the advantage derived from solid links with industry, as the strongest correlation between publishing and patenting activity is found when patents are owned by business partners, rather than individual scientists or their universities.
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Keywords: Academic inventors; Scientific productivity; University patents

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Cespri, Università Bocconi, Milan, Italy 2: Cespri, Università Bocconi, Milan, Italy,Università degli studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italy 3: Cespri, Università Bocconi, Milan, Italy,Università degli studi dell'Insubria, Varese, Italy

Publication date: 2007-03-01

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