U.S. companies are giving up on science

A new article reveals that large corporations are investing less in science. From 1980 to 2006, publications by company scientists have declined in a range of industries. The result holds across a range of industries.

Investigators also found that the value attributed to scientific research has dropped, whereas the value attributed to technical knowledge (as measured by patents) has remained stable. Companies appear to be focusing more on developing existing knowledge and commercializing it, rather than on creating new knowledge through basic research.

“This decline has taken place even though scientific research continues to be relevant, because the patents filed by these firms continue to cite the scientific literature at the same rate as before. This implies that the societal value of research has not declined,” said Ashish Arora, co-author of the Strategic Management Journal article. “We therefore need to investigate why the private value to corporations on engaging in research has declined. It also suggests that public support of research may be more valuable than ever.”

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