Academic careers, patents, and productivity: industry experience as scientific and technical human capital


We examine career patterns within the industrial, academic, and governmental sectors and their relation to the publication and patent productivity of scientists and engineers working at university-based research centers in the United States. We hypothesize that among university scientists, intersectoral changes in jobs throughout the career provide access to new social networks and scientific and technical human capital, which will result in higher productivity. For this study, the curriculum vitae of 1200 research scientists and engineers were collected and coded. In addition, patent data were collected from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The overarching conclusion from our analysis is that the academic scientists’ and engineers’ research careers we studied are quite different than characterized in the research productivity literature that is a decade or more old. The wave of center creation activity that began in the early 1980s and continues today has resulted not only in greater ties between universities and industry, but also markedly different academic careers. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Full Paper 

Dietz, J. and B. Bozeman (2005) “Academic Careers, Patents, and Productivity:  Industry Experience as Scientific and Technical Human Capital,” Research Policy, 34, 349-367.