11. Structures and effects of corporate publishing: beyond the public science-push

Convenors: Knut Blind, Bastian Krieger, Maikel Pellens and Torben Schubert.

Session type: Full paper and speed talk sessions.

Science needs to have impact on society. In line with the focus on impact, European policy has shifted its perspective from “science for society” to “science in and with society”. In this context, impact targets long-term, overarching effects that og beyond directly identifiable outcomes of  public research, such as publications and patents. Important dimensions include all kinds of social, economic, cultural, or ecological impacts. Yet, despite efforts to measure and assess impact (compare the H2020-projects Data4Impact and EURITO), it is still not adequately understood how science should live up to the demands for achieving these impact. The vague understanding of how impact is generated is also due to the fact that the current discussion seems to take a fairly traditional science-push  perspective, in which scientists conduct research that creates impact later on. However, the boundaries between scientific, societal and economic actors have become increasingly blurred. One important implication is that scientific impact may be produced by actors originating from outside the traditional science system, including for example firms.

Despite the idea that firms lack incentives to contribute to science (Arora et al. 2018, 2020), recent figures show that a sizeable number of scientific publications originate from private firms (Camerani et al. 2018), and that their degree of basicness has increased over time (Krieger et al. 2020). These observations beg a number of important questions. First, why are firms engaging in scientific publishing? Second, what is the scientific, societal and economic impact of scientific publications originating from firms? Third, how should policy-makers incorporate firm publications in their policy measures?

This track proposal focuses on the motives for and impact of firms’ engagement in scientific publishing. The track will address the challenges that accompany scientific publishing in firms and its impacts on firms themselves and society at large:

  1. What are the motives of firms to engage in scientific publishing? What are specific obstaclesand facilitators to firms’ publishing activities?
  2. Do scientific publications originating from firms generate Scientific, societal and economic impact? Do they create more or less impact than publications originating from scientific actors?
  3. Should policy makers incorporate the publication activities of firms in the “science in” and “science with” society framework?



Arora, A., S. Belenzon, & A. Patacconi (2018). The decline of science in corporate R&D. Strategic Management Journal 39(1), 3–32. https://doi.org/10.1002/smj.2693

Arora, A., S. Belenzon, & L. Sheer (2020). Knowledge spillovers and corporate investment in scientific research. Working Paper.

Camerani, R., D. Rotolo, & N. Grassano (2018). Do Firms Publish? A Multi-Sectoral Analysis. SPRU Working Paper 2018-21, 41.

Krieger, B., Blind, K., Pellens, M., Schubert, T. (2020): Are firms withdrawing from basic research? An analysis of firm-level publication behaviour in Germany, CIRCLE Papers In Innovation Studies: 2020/13, http://wp.circle.lu.se/upload/CIRCLE/workingpapers/202013_krieger.pdf