Fact of the Week: Firms With Highest R&D Spending Contribute to More Than 27 Scientific Publications Per Year

November 13, 2018

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Firms with the highest R&D spending contribute to more than 27 scientific publications per year, on average.

Source: Roberto Camerani, Daniele Rotolo, Nicola Grassano, “Do Firms Publish? A Multi-Sectoral Analysis,” Utrecht University, JRC Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation No 5/2018, Joint Research Centre, 2018.

Commentary: It is widely assumed that firms are unlikely to publish their scientific for fear of making those discoveries known to their competitors. But a new study has found that the 2,500 firms with the largest R&D expenditures contributed more than 300,000 scientific publications from 2011 to 2015, which is comparable to the academic output of France. Of the firms in question, 84 percent engaged in publishing, and the volume of their publications grew at an annual rate of 2.3 percent, demonstrating that the practice is widespread and expanding. Notably, 58 percent of the firms’ publications were co-authored by researchers at academic institutions, suggesting that firms may use publishing as a way to access academic resources.