University-industry collaboration in Italy: a bibliometric examination

Giovanni Abramo, Ciriaco Andrea D'Angelo, Flavia Di Costa, Marco Solazzi

This work investigates public-private research collaboration between Italian universities and domestic industry, applying a bibliometric type of approach. The study is based on an exhaustive listing of all co-authored publications in international journals that are jointly realized by Italian university scientists and researchers in the private sector: this listing permits the development of a national mapping system for public-private collaboration, which results unique for its extensive and representative character. It is shown that, in absolute terms, most collaborations occur in medicine and chemistry, while it is industrial and information engineering which shows the highest percentage of co-authored articles out of all articles in the field. In addition, the investigation empirically examines and tests several hypotheses concerning the qualitative-quantitative impact of collaboration on the scientific production of individual university researchers. The analyses demonstrate that university researchers who collaborate with those in the private sector show research performance that is superior to that of colleagues who are not involved in such collaboration. But the impact factor of journals publishing academic articles co-authored by industry is generally lower than that concerning co-authorships with other entities. Finally, a further specific elaboration also reveals that publications with public-private co-authorship do not show a level of multidisciplinarity that is significantly different than that of other publications.

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