Main Article Content

György Csomós


Corporate research and development (R&D) activities have long been highly concentrated in a handful of world cities. This is due to the fact that these cities (e.g., Tokyo, New York, London, and Paris) are home to the largest and most powerful transnational corporations and are globally important sites for innovative start-up firms that operate in the fastest growing industries. However, in tandem with the rapid technological changes of our age, corporate R&D activities have shifted towards newly emerging and now globally significant R&D centres, like San Jose, San Francisco, and Boston in the United States, and Beijing, Seoul, and Shenzhen in East Asia. In this paper, I will conduct a bibliometric analysis to define which cities are centres of corporate R&D activities, how different industries influence their performance, and what spatial tendencies characterise the period from 1980 to 2014. The bibliometric analysis is based upon an assumption that implies there is a close connection between the number of scientific articles published by a given firm and the volume of its R&D activity.

Results show that firms headquartered in Tokyo, New York, London, and Paris published the largest combined number of scientific articles in the period from 1980 to 2014, but that the growth rate of the annual output of scientific articles was much greater in Boston, San Jose, Beijing, and Seoul, as well as some Taiwanese cities. Furthermore, it can also be seen that those cities that have the largest number of articles; i.e., that can be considered as the most significant sites of corporate R&D in which firms operate in fast-growing industries, are primarily in the pharmaceutical and information technology industries. For these reasons, some mid-sized cities that are home to globally significant pharmaceutical or information technology firms are also top corporate R&D hubs.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite


  1. Allen, R.C., 1983. Collective invention. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 4(1): 1–24. DOI 10.1016/0167-2681(83)90023-9
  2. Andersson, D.E., Gunessee, S., Matthiessen, C.W., Find, S., 2014. The geography of Chinese science. Environment and Planning A, 46(12): 2950–2971. DOI 10.1068/a130283p
  3. Barrett, B., 2002. Defensive Use of publications in an intellectual property strategy. Nature Biotechnology, 20(2): 191–193. DOI 0.1038/nbt0202-191
  4. Chang, K.-C., Chen, D.-Z., Huang, M.-H., 2012. The relationships between the patent performance and corporation performance. Journal of Informetrics, 6(1): 131–139. DOI 10.1016/j.joi.2011.09.001
  5. Chang, Y.-W., 2014. Exploring scientific articles contributed by industries in Taiwan. Scientometrics, 99(2): 599–613. DOI 10.1007/s11192-013-1222-2
  6. Cheng, S., 2014. Financial Reforms and Developments in China. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore.
  7. Cohen, R. B., 1981. The new international division of labour, multinational corporations and urban hierarchy. In: Dear, M., Scott. A. (eds), Urbanization and Urban Planning in Capitalist Societies. Methuen, London-New York: 287–316.
  8. Csomós G., Tóth G., 2016a. Exploring the position of cities in global corporate research and development: A bibliometric analysis by two different geographical approaches. Journal of Informetrics, 10(2): 516–532. DOI 10.1016/j.joi.2016.02.004
  9. Csomós G., Tóth G., 2016b. Modelling the shifting command and control function of cities through a gravity model based bidimensional regression analysis. Environment and Planning A, 48(4): 613–615. DOI 10.1177/0308518X15621632
  10. Dernis H., Dosso M., Hervás F., Millot V., Squicciarini M., Vezzani A., 2015. World Corporate Top R&D Investors: Innovation and IP bundles. A JRC and OECD common report. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
  11. Dicken, P., 2007. Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy, 5th Edition. Sage Publication, London.
  12. Feng, F., Zhang, L., Du, Y., Wang, W., 2015. Visualization and quantitative study in bibliographic databases: A case in the field of university-industry cooperation. Journal of Informetrics, 9(1): 118–134. DOI 10.1016/j.joi.2014.11.009
  13. Financial Times, 2012. Alcatel at fault for problems, says chief. Last accessed: July 7, 2016 Online: (accessed 7 July 2016)
  14. Fröbel, F., Heinrichs, J., Kreye, O., 1980. The New International Division of Labour: Structural Unemployment in Industrialised Countries and Industrialisation in Developing Countries. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  15. Furukawa, R., Goto, A., 2006. Core scientists and innovations in Japanese electronics companies. Scientometrics, 68(2): 227–240. DOI 10.1007/s11192-006-0109-x
  16. Gao, X., Guan, J., Rousseau, R., 2011. Mapping collaborative knowledge production in China using patent co-inventorships. Scientometrics, 88(2): 343–362. DOI 10.1007/s11192-011-0404-z
  17. Godin, B., 1996. Research and the practice of publication in industries. Research Policy, 25: 587–606. DOI 10.1016/0048-7333(95)00859-4
  18. Granstrand, O., 1999. Internationalization of corporate R&D: A study of Japanese and Swedish corporations. Research Policy, 28(2–3): 275–302. DOI 10.1016/S0048-7333(98)00112-7
  19. Hernández, H., Hervás, F., Tübke, A., Vezzani, A., Dosso, M., Amoroso, S., Grassano, N., Coad, A., Gkotsis, P., 2015. The 2015 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.
  20. Hicks, D., Ishizuka, T., Keen, P., Sweet, S., 994. Japanese corporations, scientific research and globalization. Research Policy, 23(4): 375–384. DOI 10.1016/0048-7333(94)90002-7
  21. Hicks, D., 1995. Published papers, tacit competencies and corporate management of the public/private character of knowledge. Industrial and Corporate Change, 4(2): 401–424. DOI 10.1093/icc/4.2.401
  22. Hullmann, A., Meyer, M., 2003. Publications and patents in nanotechnology: An overview of previous studies and the state of the art. Scientometrics, 58(3): 507–527. DOI 10.1023/B:SCIE.0000006877.45467.a7
  23. Johnson, J.P., 2014. Defensive publishing by a leading firm. Information Economics and Policy, 28(1): 15–27. DOI 10.1016/j.infoecopol.2014.05.001
  24. Kneller, R., Mongeon, M., Cope, J., Garner, C., Ternouth, P., 2014. Industry-university collaborations in Canada, Japan, the UK and USA – With emphasis on publication freedom and managing the intellectual property lock-up problem. PLoS ONE, 9(3), e90302. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0090302
  25. Kumar, N., 2001. Determinants of location of overseas R&D activity of multinational enterprises: The case of US and Japanese corporations. Research Policy, 30(1): 159–174. DOI 10.1016/S0048-7333(99)00102-X
  26. Levi-Mazloum, D., von Ungern-Sternberg, T., 1990. To patent or to publish. Small Business Economics, 2(3): 191–197. DOI 10.1007/BF00389527
  27. Li, Y., Youtie, J., Shapira, P., 2015. Why do technology firms publish scientific papers? The strategic use of science by small and midsize enterprises in nanotechnology. Journal of Technology Transfer, 40(6): 1016–1033. DOI 10.1007/s10961-014 9391-6
  28. Liu, Y., Cheng, G.-P., Yang, Y., 2006. Patent applications of the Top 500 foreign investment corporations in China. Scientometrics, 68(1): 167–177. DOI 10.1007/s11192-006-0089-x
  29. Muller, P., Pénin, J., 2006. Why do firms disclose knowledge and how does it matter? Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 16(1–2): 85–108. DOI 10.1007/s00191-005-0009-x
  30. Narin, F., Noma, E., Perry, R., 1987. Patents as indicators of corporate technological strength. Research Policy, 16(2–4): 143–155. DOI 10.1016/0048-7333(87)90028-X
  31. Nicolini, C., Nozza, F., 2008. Objective assessment of scientific performances world-wide. Scientometrics, 76(3): 527–541. DOI 10.1007/s11192-007-1786-9
  32. Pain, E., 2009. Academia or Industry? Finding the Right Fit. Science, Careers, 05.22.2009. DOI 10.1126/science.caredit.a0900066
  33. Piergiovanni, R., Santarelli, E., 2013. The more you spend, the more you get? The effects of R & D and capital expenditures on the patenting activities of biotechnology firms. Scientometrics, 94(2): 497–521. DOI 10.1007/s11192-012-0711-z
  34. Ramirez, M., Li, X., 2009. Learning and sharing in a Chinese high-technology cluster: A study of inter-firm and intra-firm knowledge flows between R&D employees. New Technology, Work and Employment, 24(3): 277–296. DOI 10.1111/j.1468-005X.2009.00234.x
  35. Ramos-Vielba, I., Fernández-Esquinas, M., Espinosa-de-los-Monteros, E., 2010. Measuring university-industry collaboration in a regional innovation system. Scientometrics, 84(3): 649–667. DOI 10.1007/s11192-009-0113-z
  36. Reddy, P., 2005. R&D-related FDI in developing countries: implications for host countries. In: Globalization of R&D and Developing Countries. Proceedings of the Expert Meeting Geneva 24–26 January 2005. United Nations, New York–Geneva.
  37. Ribeiro, L. C., Ruiz, R. M., Bernardes, A. T., Albuquerque, E. M., 2010. Matrices of science and technology interactions and patterns of structured growth: Implications for development. Scientometrics, 83(1): 55–75. DOI 10.1007/s11192-009-0020-3
  38. Ribeiro, L.C., Kruss, G., Britto, G., Bernardes, A.T., da Motta e Albuquerque, E., 2014. A methodology for unveiling global innovation networks: patent citations as clues to cross border knowledge flows. Scientometrics, 101: 61–83. DOI 10.1007/s11192-014-1351-2
  39. Rothwell, J., Lobo, J., Strumsky, D., Muro, M., 2013. Patenting Prosperity: Invention and Economic Performance in the United States and its Metropolitan Areas. Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings. Brookings, Washington.
  40. Sassen, S., 2001. The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo, 2nd Edition. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
  41. Sauvant, K. P., 2008. The rise of TNCs from emerging markets: the issues. In: Sauvant, K.P. (ed), The Rise of Transnational Corporations from Emerging Markets: Threat or Opportunity? Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham: 3–14.
  42. Schoenberger, E., 1988. Multinational Corporations and the New International Division of Labor: A Critical Appraisal. International Regional Science Review, 11(2): 105–119. DOI 10.1177/016001768801100201
  43. The Economist, 2009. Japan’s electronics giants: Unplugged – Once the epitome of Japan’s post-war success, its electronics firms are in crisis. Online: (accessed 8 July 2016)
  44. The New York Times, 2002. New Economy; Many midsize companies find that ‘defensive publishing’ is a quick and cheap way to protect intellectual property. Online: (accessed 26 May 2016)
  45. The New York Times, 2015. Ireland, Accused of Giving Tax Breaks to Multinationals, Plans an Even Lower Rate. Online: (accessed 4 August 2016)
  46. Tijssen, R. J. W., 2004. Is the commercialization of scientific research affecting the production of public knowledge? Global trends in the output of corporate research articles. Research Policy, 33: 709–733. DOI 10.1016/j.respol.2003.11.002
  47. Wang, X., Zhang, X., Xu, S., 2011. Patent co-citation networks of Fortune 500 companies. Scientometrics, 88(3): 761–770. DOI 10.1007/s11192-011-0414-x
  48. Wong, C.-Y., Wang, L., 2015. Trajectories of science and technology and their co-evolution in BRICS: Insights from publication and patent analysis. Journal of Informetrics, 9(1): 90–101. DOI 10.1016/j.joi.2014.11.006
  49. Yoo, S.-H., Moon, H.-S., 2006. A semi-parametric modeling of firms’ R&D expenditures with zero values. Scientometrics, 69(1): 57–67. DOI 10.1007/s11192-006-0138-5
  50. Zhang, F., Cooke, P., Wu, F., 2011. State-sponsored research and development: A case study of China’s biotechnology. Regional Studies, 45(5): 575–595. DOI 10.1080/00343401003604663
  51. Zhou, Y., 2005. The making of an innovative region from a centrally planned economy: Institutional evolution in Zhongguancun Science Park in Beijing. Environment and Planning A, 37(6): 1113–1134. DOI 10.1068/a3716