This paper adds to the growing empirical evidence on the relationship between patenting and publishing among university employees.
Data from all Norwegian universities and a broad set of disciplines is used, consisting of confirmed patent inventors and
group of peers without patents matched to the inventors by controlling for gender, age, affiliation and position. In general,
the findings support earlier investigations concluding that there is a positive relationship between patenting and publishing.
There are, however, important differences among fields, universities and possibly types of academic entrepreneurs, underscoring
the need to look at nuanced and contextual factors when investigating the effects of patenting.
As the commercialization of academic research has risen as a target area in many countries, the need for better empirical
data collection to evaluate policy changes on this front has increasingly been recognized. This need is exemplified in the
Norwegian case where legislative changes went into effect in 2003 expressly to encourage greater commercialization through
patenting research results. This policy ambition faces the problem that no record of the patenting activity of academic researchers
is available before 2003 when the country’s “professor’s privilege” was phased out. This article addresses the fundamental
difficulty of how to empirically test the effect of such policy aims. It develops a methodology which can be used to reliably
baseline changes in the extent and focus of academic patents. The purpose is to describe the empirical approach and results,
while also providing insight into the changes in Norwegian policy on this front and their context.