Research and development (R&D) activities that lead to innovation can contribute highly to a country’s economic
growth and development. However, research output can be expressed in different forms, such as research
publications and patents. Patents are considered to be closer to implemented innovation than are research
publications, but research publications improve human capital and propose innovative solutions that can lead to
patenting activities. So although they are two different outcomes, publications and patents can work in synergy.
A recently published article entitled ‘Patents vs publications and R&D: Three sides of the same coin? Panel Smooth
Transition Regression (PSTR) for OECD and BRICS countries’ in the journal Applied Economics, identified the
existence of research thresholds beyond which countries can move in the next stage and increase their number of
patents. The concept tested was that a minimum number of publications (as a proxy to research capacity) should
be reached before a country or a region can engage in patenting activities that will eventually promote higher
innovation and consequently economic growth.
In that paper, we investigated the existence of thresholds in the OECD and the BRICS countries and found that the
threshold of publications before patenting activity started was 11 113 for the whole sample, 9038 for the OECD
countries and 9945 for the BRICS countries.