Research ArticleSOCIAL SCIENCES

Science quality and the value of inventions

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Science Advances  11 Dec 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 12, eaay7323
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay7323
  • Fig. 1 Setting: Domains of science (left), technology (right), and patent-paper references.

  • Fig. 2 SNPL references by science quality.

    Science quality is the 3-year citation count from other scientific publications. The patent count is not conditional on appearing as an SNPL reference. Blue shaded areas show 95% confidence intervals around the mean. N = 42,962,463.

  • Fig. 3 Patent value by SNPL science quality.

    SNPL science quality is the maximum 3-year citation count across scientific publications appearing as SNPL references in a patent. Patent value is measured as the 5-year count of patent forward citations by U.S. patents. Patent value and science quality are residualized using technology field × first filing year FEs. Shaded areas show 95% confidence intervals around the respective means. (A) When there are multiple patent-paper references, we, by default, use the highest-quality reference (orange). In comparison, we use the average quality (blue). (B) SNPL self-references of the highest-quality SNPL references are considered. (C) Time distance is measured as the lag between the first filing year of the patent and the publication year of the scientific publication in SNPL references with the highest science quality. N = 4,767,844 patents (948,006 with SNPL references).

  • Fig. 4 Patent value by distance to the scientific frontier and SNPL science quality.

    SNPL science quality is the maximum 3-year citation count across scientific publications appearing as SNPL references in a patent. Patent value is measured as the 5-year count of patent forward citations by U.S. patents. Patent value and science quality are residualized using technology field × first filing year FEs. Shaded areas show 95% confidence intervals around the respective means. The distance to the science frontier (x axis) is measured as the shortest path to a patent with SNPL references in the patent references network. For patents not at the science frontier, SNPL science quality is the maximum SNPL science quality in patents at the frontier to which they are linked. N = 3,709,655.

  • Table 1 SNPL science quality and alternative measures of patent value.

    The table presents descriptive statistics for all considered measures of patent value. It reports average values for patents without SNPL references, with SNPL references in the bottom 10%, and with patents in the top 10% of science quality. Patent value and science quality are residualized using technology field × year FEs. Elasticities from corresponding regression analyses are available in the Supplementary Materials.

    No SNPLBottom 10%Top 10%
    U.S. citations
    Mean5.1254.92810.175
    SE(0.004)(0.022)(0.058)
    N3,471,62184,40684,808
    EP citations
    Mean0.9470.7502.078
    SE(0.001)(0.012)(0.016)
    N3,471,62184,40684,808
    Kogan et al. (10) (USD)
    Mean13.32612.51716.704
    SE(0.044)(0.625)(0.469)
    N700,613886613,811
    PatVal (EUR)
    Mean11.9298.27724.450
    SE(0.451)(3.226)(4.992)
    N8507349227
    U.S. claim length
    Mean185.532179.467178.012
    SE(0.082)(0.456)(0.496)
    N1,956,65165,92169,939
    EP claim length
    Mean143.905140.782129.188
    SE(0.084)(0.335)(0.456)
    N1,159,04942,53429,972

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/5/12/eaay7323/DC1

    Supplementary Materials and Methods

    Supplementary Text

    Fig. S1. Robustness tests of the main specification.

    Fig. S2. Heterogeneous effects across self-reference status, applicant country, technology area, and science field.

    Fig. S3. Patent value-science quality relationship over time.

    Table S1. SNPL and science quality elasticities (intensive and extensive margin, by SNPL definitions/restrictions).

    Table S2. Patent value and science quality.

    Table S3. Patent value and science quality (alternative science quality indicators).

    Table S4. Patent value and science quality (interdisciplinarity).

    Table S5. Patent value and science quality (by frontier distance).

    Table S6. Patent value and science quality (by time distance).

    Table S7. Top-cited science and patents.

    References (1341)

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Supplementary Materials and Methods
    • Supplementary Text
    • Fig. S1. Robustness tests of the main specification.
    • Fig. S2. Heterogeneous effects across self-reference status, applicant country, technology area, and science field.
    • Fig. S3. Patent value-science quality relationship over time.
    • Table S1. SNPL and science quality elasticities (intensive and extensive margin, by SNPL definitions/restrictions).
    • Table S2. Patent value and science quality.
    • Table S3. Patent value and science quality (alternative science quality indicators).
    • Table S4. Patent value and science quality (interdisciplinarity).
    • Table S5. Patent value and science quality (by frontier distance).
    • Table S6. Patent value and science quality (by time distance).
    • Table S7. Top-cited science and patents.
    • References (1341)

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