Science and the Diffusion of Knowledge

Posted: 9 Nov 2009

See all articles by Olav Sorenson

Olav Sorenson

Yale School of Management

Lee Fleming

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2004


In the past, research has linked the advancement ofscience to increased innovation and to economic growth.However, littleresearch has sought to explain these relationships.This paper examinesthe impact of the norm of publication, or the more rapid dispersal ofinformation, on increases in innovation and economic growth. To study this effect, the researchers analyze three groups of focalpatents. A literature review of past research regarding science andtechnological advances is provided.Then, the empirical basis of thisresearch is discussed, noting that this study investigates patents, theirreferences to non-patent prior art, and their forward citations.Citationrates and citation distribution is explained in relation to the six hypothesesof this research.The data utilized for this research consist of sampleutility patents, yielding a sample size of 16,728 references.The sevencategories used to sort the references are presented, and citation rates andcitation distribution are further discussed in terms of the dataanalysis. The findings indicate that referencing patents that reference anypublication display a large number of citations from future patents.Alternative explanations for these findings are discussed.(AKP)

Keywords: Academic research, Patents, Economic growth, Technology innovation, Publications, Science, Information dissemination, Innovation process

Suggested Citation

Sorenson, Olav and Fleming, Lee, Science and the Diffusion of Knowledge (2004). Research Policy, Vol. 33, Issue 10, p. 1615-16 2004. Available at SSRN:

Olav Sorenson (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

Lee Fleming

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617 495 6613 (Phone)
617 496 5265 (Fax)

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