Clarivate Analytics insights inform Nature Index supplement on innovation

PHILADELPHIA, August 9, 2017 – To demonstrate the extent to which inventions derive from knowledge production at academic institutions, Nature Index today released a special issue on innovation, which examines research articles from universities that are cited in patents. When taken in quantity, patent-to-article citations represent one of the most direct indicators of innovation capacity and effectiveness. This analysis can reveal universities with outsized impact beyond their walls. Clarivate Analytics, the global leader in providing trusted insights and analytics to accelerate the pace of innovation, provided data to the Nature Index from the Web of Science, InCites and the Derwent Innovation Index.

“Today’s funders, including federal and state government agencies, want to measure return on investment in research,” notes David Pendlebury, Citation Analyst at Clarivate Analytics. “With ever more constricted budgets, it’s a value for money concern. More than that, these funders want to optimize their returns over time. For that they need reliable indicators of success or lack of it.” In years past, support for higher education and R&D was expected to pay off eventually, but the inputs, outputs and outcomes of funding were not analyzed directly. Now it is a priority, and assessment of funding outcomes has become a top concern for governments globally.

Innovation is hard to measure because it is hard to define. But over many years, research policymakers and economists have relied on the patent literature, for which Clarivate Analytics is known through its comprehensive coverage and curation, with enhancements, of the basic data. In the 1970s through 1990s, U.S. analyst Francis Narin, Ph.D., pioneered studies of ‘science linkage’ as a way to study the impact of university research using patent-to-article citations. “Think of Hansel and Gretel,” says Pendlebury. “Remember how they left bread crumbs in the forest to find their way home. Unfortunately for them the birds ate the crumbs. Fortunately for analysts of innovation, we permanently record the ‘bread crumbs’ in the form of citations sprinkled throughout patents allowing one to follow the trail back home to the source of inspiration, research articles.” Clarivate Analytics offers a suite of products – from Derwent Innovation to InCites to Web of Science – that reveal this chain of influence and impact.

“As long as organizations rely on patents to protect their intellectual property, we can follow and count citations to assess economic and even social impact of research,” Pendlebury adds.

A Clarivate Analytics State of Innovation report is scheduled to be released next month.

Clarivate Analytics

Clarivate™ Analytics accelerates the pace of innovation by providing trusted insights and analytics to customers around the world, enabling them to discover, protect and commercialize new ideas faster. Formerly the Intellectual Property and Science business of Thomson Reuters, we own and operate a collection of leading subscription-based businesses focused on scientific and academic research, patent analytics and regulatory standards, pharmaceutical and biotech intelligence, trademark protection, domain brand protection and intellectual property management. Clarivate™ Analytics is now an independent company with over 4,000 employees, operating in more than 100 countries and owns well‐known brands that include Web of Science™, Cortellis™, Derwent™, CompuMark™, MarkMonitor® and Techstreet™, among others. For more information, please visit

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