Public Release: 

A study examines how Spanish companies innovate

Carlos III University of Madrid

This press release is available in Spanish.

The study analyzes the relationships among the different agents who participate in scientific and technological development, particularly between universities and research centers (as generators of knowledge) and companies (as the transformers of knowledge into goods for society). To do this, the researchers analyzed all of the scientific production of companies located in Spain between 1995 and 2005, using the information available in the Web of Science, the database that includes the most renowned international scientific journals.

The results of the study, which was published in the Aslib Proceedings, offer answers to questions related to the role of companies in the scientific panorama, the geographic distribution of the main producing companies and the most productive scientific specializations, in this context. "On the positive side, we found a large number of companies- over 1300 in the eleven years we analyzed - that participate and contribute their share to national R+D with the publication of their research work in internationally recognized journals", states one of the authors, Antonio Perianes, a member of the SCImago research group in UC3M's Library Science and Documentation Department.

However, very few genuinely Spanish companies are among those that are most productive, a group that is predominately made up of subsidiaries of multinational firms with headquarters in Spain. "This fact highlights one of the Spanish production sector's main handicaps: its scant investment in R+D, unlike what we find in the other developed countries around us, with responsibility for this situation falling mostly on the various public administrations," concludes Professor Perianes, who points out that this analysis is based on data gathered before the advent of the world economic crisis. "An analysis of more recent data will help shed light on whether companies have faced this period with a vision toward the future or if, on the contrary, the socio-economic context has made them diminish the already scarce investment initiatives in scientific and technological development", he emphasizes.

Innovation by company type or Autonomous Community

The scientists note that the study also reveals that the companies that are most predisposed to publish their research are those found in the biomedical or pharmaceutical sector, while technological companies are more hesitant to publicize their competitive advantages. In all, the companies working in Medicine, Pharmacology and Molecular Biology represent over 65 percent of overall scientific production. Another piece of date that the researchers highlight is that the Community of Madrid contributes the most companies to the list, and that those companies are, in turn, the ones that produce the greatest number of studies.

This report also leads to a greater understanding of how international and sectorial collaboration in this area is produced. One noticeable trend is that the preferred foreign partners when it comes to R+D cooperation are in European countries and the USA. "In addition, when a company publishes, it rarely does so with other companies, with the preference being to publish with partners in other sectors, such the university or healthcare sectors, essentially hospitals", comment these UC3M researchers, who are already obtaining new, interesting results in collaboration with various European universities and the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council), applying some of the methods used in this project to the analysis of the worldwide pharmaceutical industry.


More info:

Title: R&D collaboration in 50 major Spanish companies Authors: Perianes-Rodriguez, A; Olmeda-Gomez, C; Ovalle-Perandones, MA; Chinchilla-Rodriguez, Z; Moya-Anegon, F

Source: ASLIB PROCEEDINGS 63 (1): 5-27 2011 ISSN: 0001-253X

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