The impact of academic patenting on university research and its transfer

Research Policy

This paper contributes to the ongoing debate on the impact of academic patenting on publishing and knowledge transfer. Drawing upon two separate surveys of academics, and their CV information, we provide empirical evidence for UK academics in engineering and physical sciences. The contribution of this paper is two-fold. First, our findings show that (the intensity of) academic patenting complements publishing up to a certain level of patenting output, after which we find evidence of a substitution effect.

We also find weak evidence of important differences across scientific fields with the more basic-oriented fields showing indications of a crowding-out effect. Second, our analysis of the potential impact of patenting on knowledge transfer shows a positive correlation between the stock of patents and engagement in knowledge transfer channels. However, we find that a substitution effect sets in, indicating an inverted U-shaped relationship between patenting and several knowledge transfer channels.