When Collaboration Bridges Institutions: The Impact of Industry Collaboration on Academic Productivity
35 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2016 Last revised: 31 Mar 2017
Date Written: September 1, 2016
How does industry collaboration affect academic scientists' productivity? While industry's involvement in academic research is growing, various scholars have warned that this trend might corrupt open science by fostering secrecy in academia, and by leading scientists toward less publishable lines of work. In this study, we argue that, under certain circumstances, academia-industry collaboration can sharpen the particularities of the academic institutional environment rather than corrupt it. We propose that in research lines with both high scientific and commercial potential, scientists in industry and academia might be able to draw on the distinctive capabilities of their respective institutional environments, therefore leading to an increase in academic productivity within the collaborative line of research. An empirical challenge is that research projects that involve industry collaborators may be qualitatively different from those that do not. To address this issue, we exploit the occurrence of simultaneous discoveries where multiple scientists make roughly the same discovery around the same time. Following a simultaneous discovery, we compare the subsequent research trajectories of academic scientists who collaborated with industry on the discovery to academic scientists who did not. Counter to the argument that industry collaboration corrupts academic institutional norms, we find that academic scientists who collaborated with industry produce more publications and fewer patents on their collaborative research lines than their academic peers who did not collaborate with industry. We show that these effects are particularly salient when the industry partner is an established company, rather than a startup.
Keywords: Collaboration, Academia, Industry, Cross-Institutional Collaboration, Paper Twins, Division of Labor
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