Monday, May 11, 2015

Interesting complaint about C&EN's academic bias

Also from this week's C&EN and its letters to the editor, an interesting take on a frequent complaint:
Industrial Chemists Are Industrious 
I have written before about bias against industrial chemists, such as in awards stories and reports on promotions. Now there is the monthly feature “Patent Picks” in which most inventors spotlighted are from academia. Consider some statistics: In 2013, of institutions with the greatest number of patents, IBM led the list with 7,534. Eighty-ninth on the list was California Institute of Technology, and 121st was Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All the others were industrial patent grantees. 
Can C&EN not find a single interesting or worthy patent from industry? I note that we industrial chemists do, however, make it into the obituaries. 
Larry LewisScotia, N.Y.
I have noted (to myself) that the Patent Picks section seems to be about promoting SciFinder/CAS, but I didn't notice a particular academic bent to the patents. Guess others see it differently.

Something that I have noticed and I wonder about is that universities seem to have a PR machine available for new science, i.e. PIs and university press offices. Industrial scientists don't tend to be interested in trumpeting their new patents (and understandably so, sometimes) - maybe that's the issue? I dunno. 


  1. There are places, such as ACS MedChemLett that have patent highlights focusing primarily on industrial patents.These are written by outsiders, and obviously have a med chem focus. But at least it's a start?

  2. Huh, I've long thought that ACS and C&E News had a bias in favor of academia but never thought about it when it came to patents. However, I'm not surprised. They ignore industry and spend 99% of their time writing about everything academic when it comes to chemistry, so I guess it makes sense.