Patent Citation Data in Social Science Research: Overview and Best Practices
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.
We thank David Schwartz for suggesting this project. We received helpful comments from Bronwyn Hall, Dietmar Harhoff, Sadao Nagaoka, and Beth Webster, as well as participants at the 2015 Workshop on the Economics of Intellectual Property in Northwestern University. Jan Kozak provided valuable research assistance. The authors are solely responsible for all opinions or errors. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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. citation courtesy of