NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Patent Citation Data in Social Science Research: Overview and Best Practices

Adam B. Jaffe, Gaétan de Rassenfosse

NBER Working Paper No. 21868
Issued in January 2016
NBER Program(s):PR

The last two decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in the use of patent citation data in social science research. Facilitated by digitization of the patent data and increasing computing power, a community of practice has grown up that has developed methods for using these data to: measure attributes of innovations such as impact and originality; to trace flows of knowledge across individuals, institutions and regions; and to map innovation networks. The objective of this paper is threefold. First, it takes stock of these main uses. Second, it discusses four pitfalls associated with patent citation data, related to office, time and technology, examiner, and strategic effects. Third, it highlights gaps in our understanding and offers directions for future research.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21868

Published: Adam B. Jaffe & Gaétan de Rassenfosse, 2017. "Patent citation data in social science research: Overview and best practices," Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, vol 68(6), pages 1360-1374.

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