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Exploring the science and technology interface - inventor-author relations in medicine research

: Noyons, E.C.M.; Raan, A.F.J. van; Grupp, H.; Schmoch, U.


Research policy 23 (1994), pp.443-457
ISSN: 0048-7333
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()
inventor-author relation; lasers in medicine; science and technology interface; science intensity

The aim of this study is to investigate a specific aspect of the science and technology interface: inventor-author relations. The subject area is application of lasers in medicine. The empirical material consists of a set of 30 patents, representing the "technology side", and 1057 publications authored by the inventor, representing the "science side" of lasers in medicine. Our study includes four different approaches. First, we tried to find evidence, by looking at the scientific part, for the claim that references in patents to non-patent literature (NPL references, mostly scientific publications) indicate "science intensity". It appeared that inventors of patents with many NPL references did not publish significantly more in science than inventors of patents with few NPL references. The former did, however, use more basic scientific journals to publish in than the latter. Second, we tried to identify at the science side one paper per patent which would best represent the R&D activiti es related to the patent. Here, a weak correlation was found between the number of NPL references in the patents and the number of references in their scientific counterparts. In our third approach, we compared the number of NPL references in the patents with expert assessments about the science intensity of each individual patent. Moreover, other aspects were taken in consideration, such as legal status of a patent (number of claims), complexity of the invention (number of pages), size of the inventor team. We found out that some of these other aspects could be related to a higher number of NPL references in patents. In the fourth and final approach of the study, we analysed the inventors' publications in more detail, in particular for the period before and around the patent application date. We tested and found evidence for two hypotheses. These two hypotheses state that, in preparation of a patent application, (1) co-inventors their co-activity in science; and (2) companies and uni v ersities level up their co-operation.