Why do technology firms publish scientific papers? The strategic use of science by small and midsize enterprises in nanotechnology

In the emerging technology domain of nanotechnology, a significant portion of small and midsize enterprises contribute to the scientific literature by publishing their research and development results. However, while considerable attention has been paid to patenting by small and midsize technology firms, the underlying business motivations for such firms to publish scientific papers are not well understood. This paper investigates the scientific publishing patterns of smaller firms engaged in nanotechnology and the factors that underlie this phenomenon. Based on an analysis of 85 US small and midsize enterprises with a minimum of four nanotechnology patents or publications, we test three hypotheses about corporate publishing: reputational gains, absorptive capacity, and strategic spillovers. We find that the small and midsize firms in our sample are more likely to publish when their work is associated with public science and when it involves a greater technological focus, but having a university collaborator is not a significant factor. The results from this study of nanotechnology enterprises suggest that small and midsize technology firms selectively manage and disclose their research based on internal developmental and capacity drivers.


Author(s): Yin Li, Jan Youtie and Philip Shapira
Organization(s): Georgia Institute of Technology, MIoIR-University of Manchester
Source: The Journal of Technology Transfer
Year: 2015

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