Research Policy (RES POLICY )

Publisher: Elsevier


Research and development (R&D) activities today absorb very considerable resources, and have great influence on the policies of industrial firms, government departments, universities and even whole nations. Research Policy is a multi-disciplinary journal devoted to the exploration of the policy problems posed by these R&D activities, and in particular their interaction with economic, social and political processes. Its papers are written by both academic observers and practitioners of the R&D process. It is deliberately international in scope and reaches an audience of academics, industrialists and government officials.Main Subjects Covered:Innovation, Company Strategy and Industrial Competition; Project Selection and R&D Management; National Policies towards Science and Technology; Social and Economic Effects of Science and Technology; Policies for Basic Research; International Cooperation; Developing Countries; Literature Surveys.

Impact factor 2.85

  • 5-year impact
  • Cited half-life
  • Immediacy index
  • Eigenfactor
  • Article influence
  • Website
    Research Policy website
  • Other titles
    Research policy (Online), RP
  • ISSN
  • OCLC
  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details


  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Pre-print allowed on any website or open access repository
    • Voluntary deposit by author of authors post-print allowed on authors' personal website, or institutions open scholarly website including Institutional Repository, without embargo, where there is not a policy or mandate
    • Deposit due to Funding Body, Institutional and Governmental policy or mandate only allowed where separate agreement between repository and the publisher exists.
    • Permitted deposit due to Funding Body, Institutional and Governmental policy or mandate, may be required to comply with embargo periods of 12 months to 48 months .
    • Set statement to accompany deposit
    • Published source must be acknowledged
    • Must link to journal home page or articles' DOI
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
    • NIH Authors articles will be submitted to PubMed Central after 12 months
    • Publisher last contacted on 18/10/2013
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Obtaining essential intellectual property rights (IPRs) is important for innovation and competition in the network industry, where technical standardization plays a critical role in development. In this study, we empirically investigate the determinants of essential IPRs for wireless communication standards using the patent database. In particular, we focus on the inventors’ involvement in technical standardization by identifying and collecting their patent applications.
    Research Policy 03/2015; 44(2):483-492.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper contributes to the debate on the dynamics of the development of practices and their relation to the emergence of collaborative communities of practitioners. Our research is situated in a university that was seeking to promote and stimulate interdisciplinary research collaborations through a number of initiatives. We are concerned both with characterizing the practices that make this kind of collaboration possible, and with the emergence of a community that creates and endorses such collaborative practices. Our findings provide insights in relation to two particular questions. First, we report on the development of interdisciplinary practices and the emergence of community. Second, we consider how support interventions undertaken by the university stimulated the development of those practices. We develop theoretical and practical insights in these areas.
    Research Policy 02/2015; 44:96-107.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper analyzes the competition for skilled human resources between European higher education institutions (HEI) through a multi-level model predicting their ability to attract foreign researchers. Predictions of the model are tested on a dataset on internationalization of 601 HEIs in 8 European countries. We show that (1) the model is able to explain a large proportion of the variance in the levels of internationalization of academic staff between HEIs; (2) country factors are more important than HEIs’ characteristics in driving internationalization; (3) research-oriented HEIs in attractive countries have a larger share of international staff, whereas this happens only to a limited extent with similar HEIs in low attractive countries; (4) the association of research orientation with internationalization is mediated by the HEI's international network. These results have relevant implications for HEI's hiring strategies, as well as for national policies concerning careers and the mobility of researchers. We suggest that policies should be tailored to structural conditions of HEIs and countries, whereas imitating the approaches of highly attractive places might be damaging. Less-attractive countries should rather focus on training and career opportunities for young national researchers, as well as on instruments to keep linkages with national expatriates.
    Research Policy 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: International knowledge spillovers, especially through multinational companies (MNCs), have recently been a major topic of academic and management debate. However, most studies treat MNC subsidiaries as relatively passive actors. We challenge this assumption by investigating the drivers of knowledge protection intensity of MNC subsidiaries. We argue that knowledge protection intensity is determined by MNC subsidiary mandates and by opportunities and risks originating from the host region. We hypothesize that not just competence-creating but also competence-exploiting mandates increase knowledge protection intensity. In addition, technological cluster regions in the host country can be expected to provide opportunities for knowledge sourcing and MNC subsidiaries may be willing to protect knowledge less intensively to participate in cluster networks. We test our hypotheses using a dataset of 694 observations of 631 MNC subsidiaries in Germany and develop recommendations for research, managers and policy makers.
    Research Policy 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Res. Policy (2014), The multi-level perspective on sustainability transitions positions established firms (incumbents) as defenders of existing technologies at the "regime level". By contrast, it positions new entrants at the niche level, as promoters of new technologies. This paper challenges the positioning of firms as actors on either regime or niche levels. Based on a comparative analysis of technology strategies in the heavy vehicle industry, the paper shows that established firms are active at both levels, developing several technology alternatives simultaneously. This means that incumbents’ technology strategies determine important parts of the required niche-regime interactions. The paper also shows how incumbents may pursue contrasting technology strategies. While some adopt a dualistic approach, keeping regime and niche level activities technologically and commercially separate, others develop integrated strategies where niche activities are leveraged to impact upon the regime level. The cases studied illustrate how the success of these integrated strategies depends on the emergence of bridging policies. Bridging policies are relevant both for linking early niche markets to broader regime-level markets, and for supporting the further technological advancements of niche markets.
    Research Policy 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Quantitative measures of research output, especially bibliometric measures, have not only been introduced within research funding systems in many countries, but they are also increasingly used in the media to construct rankings of universities, faculties and even individual scientists. In almost all countries, in which significant attempts have been made to quantify research output, parts of the scientific community have criticized the specific procedures used or even protested against them. In 2012, a significant fraction of German business scholars has even opted out of the most important German research ranking for business and economics which is conducted by the Germany's leading business daily Handelsblatt. Using this example, we show that observed resistance to change can consistently be explained by observable factors related to individual cost and benefits of the concerned researchers. We present empirical evidence consistent with the hypothesis that those scholars for whom the costs of a change in evaluation methods exceed the expected benefits are more likely to boycott the ranking exercise.
    Research Policy 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Science-intensive firms are experimenting with ‘open data’ initiatives, involving collaboration with academic scientists whereby all results are published with no restriction. Firms seeking to benefit from open data face two key challenges: revealing R&D problems may leak valuable information to competitors, and academic scientists may lack motivation to address problems posed by firms. We explore how firms overcome these challenges through an inductive study of the Structural Genomics Consortium. We find that the operation of the consortium as a boundary organization provided two core mechanisms to address the above challenges. First, through mediated revealing, the boundary organization allowed firms to disclose R&D problems while minimizing adverse competitive consequences. Second, by enabling multiple goals the boundary organization increased the attractiveness of industry-informed agendas for academic scientists. We work our results into a grounded model of boundary organizations as a vehicle for open data initiatives. Our study contributes to research on public–private research partnerships, knowledge revealing and boundary organizations.
    Research Policy 12/2014; 38.
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    ABSTRACT: Technological diversity is important to achieve long-term technological progress as diversity fosters recombinant innovation and renders undesirable lock-ins less likely. Many government policies influence the diversity of a technology, in particular by subsidizing collaborative innovation projects. This study investigates the influence of network position and the composition of innovation projects on the creation diversity of an emerging technology at a system level. We first conceptualize technological diversity and formulate hypotheses using a combination of innovation system and social network arguments. Empirically, we study the Dutch innovation system in relation to biogas energy technology.
    Research Policy 12/2014; 18.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper proposes an empirical study of the skill repertoires of 290 sectors in the United States over the period 2002–2011. We use information on employment structures and job content of occupations to flesh out structural characteristics of industry-specific know-how. The exercise of mapping the skills structures embedded in the workforce yields a taxonomy that discloses novel nuances on the organization of industry. In so doing we also take an initial step towards the integration of labour and employment in the area of innovation studies.
    Research Policy 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Despite heightened interests from policy makers in the notion of brain circulation, the discussion around the issue has remained largely theoretical. Drawing upon unique data of the alumni of a leading Indian university, this study examines how migration dynamics unfold within a highly-educated population whose emigration is considered as a classic example of brain drain. We adopt an integrative framework, bringing together macro-level push and pull influences and individual-level selectivity. We find that disparity in economic development between countries drives migration flows in both directions, while host-country demand has a stronger impact on out-migration than on return migration. We also detect significant selection effects at the individual level: top students are more likely to emigrate and less likely to return. In out-migration, flowing out of the country appear to be the best and the brightest amongst the highly educated talent pool. In return migration, negative selection is manifested in multiple aspects—including ability, post-migration human capital investment, and income. We also find that the influences of macro forces vary amongst individuals: higher-ability individuals appear to be less affected by demand changes. The findings have important policy implications for both source countries and receiving countries.
    Research Policy 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: This paper uses the Dialectic Issue LifeCycle-model (DILC-model) to analyze the co-evolution of the climate change problem and strategic responses from the American car industry. The longitudinal and multi-dimensional analysis investigates the dynamics of the climate change problem in terms of socio-political mobilization by social movements, scientists, wider publics and policymakers. It also analyses how U.S. automakers responded to mounting pressures with socio-political, economic and innovation strategies oriented towards low-carbon propulsion technologies. We use a mixed methodology with a quantitative analysis of various time-series and an in-depth qualitative case study, which traces interactions between problem-related pressures and industry responses. We conclude that U.S. automakers are slowly reorienting towards low-carbon technologies, but due to weakening pressures have not yet fully committed to comprehensive development and marketing. The paper not only applies the DILC-model, but also proposes three elaborations: (a) the continued diversity of technical solutions, and ‘ups and downs’ in future expectations, creates uncertainty which delays strategic reorientation; (b) firms may develop radical innovations for political and social purposes in early phases of the model; (c) issue lifecycles are also shaped by external influences from other problems and contexts.
    Research Policy 12/2014; 38.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper deals with the open innovation mode in the environmental realm and investigates the effects that knowledge sourcing has on the environmental innovations (EIs) of firms. Using the Community Innovation Survey (CIS) 2006–2008, we refer to the firm's probability of both introducing an EI and extending the number of EI-typologies adopted. We estimate the impact of the ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’ of knowledge sourcing. In addition, we test for the moderating role of the firm's absorptive capacity. Knowledge sourcing has a positive impact on both types of EI-performance. However, a broad sourcing strategy reveals a threshold above which the propensity to introduce an EI diminishes. Cognitive constraints in processing knowledge inputs that are too diverse may explain this result. Absorptive capacity generally helps firms to turn broadly sourced external knowledge into EI. However, internal innovation capabilities and knowledge socialization mechanisms seem to diminish the EI impact of knowledge sourced through deep external interactions. The possibility of mismatches between the management of internal and external knowledge, and of problems in distributing the decision-makers’ attention between the two, may explain this result.
    Research Policy 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Firms are resorting more and more to mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to bridge the gap between where they are and where they would like to be in relation to innovation and performance. This paper investigates whether involvement in M&A triggers distinct patterns of innovative behaviour across firms, and whether this effect is conditional on firm size. The analysis combines data from four waves of the Community Innovation Survey (CIS) and the Business Register of Dutch manufacturing firms. We observe that M&As influence the probability that firms will begin innovation activities or persist with them, and these effects vary at different points in the firm size distribution. In particular, by using M&A firms are able to persist with the innovation efforts and output over time, and this effect is especially strong for large firms. For small firms, M&A help them to cross the ‘innovation threshold’, increasing the probability of the transition from a non-innovator to an active innovator. However, the M&A effect does not mitigate the tendency of small firms to be occasional innovators.
    Research Policy 12/2014;