The Dual Frontier: Patentable Inventions and Prior Scientific Advance, Science
The extent to which scientific advances support marketplace inventions is largely unknown. We study 4.8 million U.S. patents and 32 million research articles to determine the minimum citation distance between patentable inventions and prior scientific advances. The distance metric provides a new typology to characterize fields, funders, institutions, and individuals. It can also inform long-standing ideas about the nature of scientific and technological progress that underpin the modern science and innovation system. Applied across all patents and cited journal articles, we find majority connectivity, where the integrated citation network encompasses the majority of both patents and papers. This feature, together with the indirectness and institutional locus of patent-paper linkages, is consistent with and helps quantify core conceptions of the “linear model” of science. However, consistent with more recent theories of scientific and technological progress, advances along the patent-paper boundary appear strikingly more impactful within their respective domains.
Jones, F. Benjamin. 2017. The Dual Frontier: Patentable Inventions and Prior Scientific Advance. Science. 357