Knowledge flows from public science to industrial technologies

L. Wang*, Z. Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Scientific research has been acknowledged as an important knowledge resource for developing technologies. However, little is known about the heterogeneous nature of scientific knowledge and the associated contribution to technological advancement. Using nano technology as a case study, this paper investigates what types of scientific research can help improve the quality of technologies. This study uses backward and forward citation analysis, extracted from the Derwent World Patents Index. Non-patent citations from each patent are further connected with records indexed in Web of Science, and the forward citations for the cited articles are collected. On the one hand, our results confirm that there is an important contribution from science to technology. High-quality academic research has significantly contributed to the development of high-quality patents. On the other hand, this study also reveals the heterogeneous pattern of patents citing scientific publications, depending on the organizational type, country, and knowledge origin. Compared to those in the U.S., patents developed by Chinese inventors tend to reply on more recent science but with a narrower scientific scope
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Technology Transfer
Publication statusPublished - 2019

JEL classifications

  • o30 - "Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights: General"
  • o31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
  • o32 - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D


  • Citations
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Nanotechnology
  • Patents
  • Publications
  • Science-technology linkages
  • Knowledge management
  • Science technologies
  • Patents and inventions

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