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What is the general viewpoint held in academia regarding patents, as opposed to published papers? Are patents regarded as similar in credibility to papers?

As a software engineer returning to graduate study after a long professional career, I have collaborated with colleagues on a number of patents. But I do not have any published papers. Since I want to resume my academic pursuit, how important is publishing?

1 Answer 1

Patents and papers are not adversary in general. One can patent and then publish. And kill two birds with one stone. Both get public after independent examination. Each settles some ground, and both can be cited. Working on a useful patent can be harder than on a useless paper. Both papers and patents can serve very different purposes.

I've been working in industrial research for 15 years. I have about the same number of patents and papers (few wet academia).

I have observed a shift in academia which now regard patents with a gentler look. The value of a single patent can be estimated, on average, between half or twice the value of a single paper.

If your patent has generated money, been cited in other patents or papers, or proved a collaboration, those are figures you can claim as an innovative value.

Having no paper at all might be an issue though. You have not passed peer review. For some, 7 patent + 1 paper is better than 8 patents.

If you can convert part of your patents into papers, at least once, that could be a plus.