Accounting for Universities’ Impact: Using Augmented Data to Measure Academic Engagement and Commercialization by Academic Scientists

Research Evaluation 24(4): 380-391

28 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2015 Last revised: 30 Oct 2015

See all articles by Markus Perkmann

Markus Perkmann

Imperial College Business School

Riccardo Fini

University of Bologna - Department of Management; Imperial College London

Jan-Michael Ross

Imperial College London

Ammon Salter

University of Bath - School of Management

Cleo Silvestri

Imperial College London

Valentina Tartari

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics

Date Written: August 3, 2015

Abstract

We present an approach that aims to comprehensively account for scientists’ academic engagement and commercialization activities. While previous research has pointed to the economic and social impact of these activities, it has also been hampered by the difficulties of accurately quantifying them. Our approach complements university administrative records with data retrieved from external sources and surveys to quantify academic consulting, patenting and academic entrepreneurship. This allows us to more accurately account for ‘independent’ activity, i.e. academic engagement and commercialization outside the formal university channels and often not recorded by universities. We illustrate this approach with data for 10,000 scientists at Imperial College London. Results indicate that conventional approaches systematically underestimate the extent of academic scientists’ impact-relevant activities by not accounting for independent activities. We find a larger proportion of scientists to be externally active, yet with the exception of consulting we find no significant difference between individuals involved in supported (university-recorded) and independent activity, respectively. Our study contributes to work concerned with developing appropriate and accurate research metrics for demonstrating the public value of science.

Suggested Citation

Perkmann, Markus and Fini, Riccardo and Ross, Jan-Michael and Salter, Ammon and Silvestri, Cleo and Tartari, Valentina, Accounting for Universities’ Impact: Using Augmented Data to Measure Academic Engagement and Commercialization by Academic Scientists (August 3, 2015). Research Evaluation 24(4): 380-391, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2639125

Markus Perkmann (Contact Author)

Imperial College Business School ( email )

London, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Riccardo Fini

University of Bologna - Department of Management ( email )

Via Terracini 28
Bologna, 40131
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.unibo.it/faculty/riccardo.fini

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
London SW7 2AZ, DC
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/people/r.fini

Jan-Michael Ross

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Ammon Salter

University of Bath - School of Management ( email )

Claverton Down
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom

Cleo Silvestri

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Valentina Tartari

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics ( email )

Kilevej 14A
Frederiksberg, 2000
Denmark

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