John Walsh, Ph.D.


Member Of:
  • School of Public Policy
Office Location:
DM Smith 201

Dr. John P. Walsh is a Professor in the School of Public Policy. He teaches and does research on science, technology and innovation, using a sociological perspective that focuses on organizations and work to explain how research organizations respond to changes in their policy environment. Recent work includes studies of university-industry linkages in the US and Japan, the effects of research tool patents on biomedical researchers and country and industry differences in the role of patents in firm strategy. His work has been published in Science, American Sociological Review, Research Policy, Social Studies of Science, and Management Science. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Kauffman Foundation, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, the Matsushita Foundation and the Japan Foundation, and he has done consulting for the National Academy of Sciences, the OECD, the European Commission and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  • Ph.D. Northwestern University, Sociology
  • M.A. Northwestern University, Sociology
  • B.A., University of Cincinnati, Sociology
Areas of
  • Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Japan
  • Organizations
  • Patent Policy
  • Research Methods
  • Science
  • University-Industry Relations
  • Work
Research Fields:
  • S&E Organizations, Education, Careers and Workforce
  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy
  • Asia (East)
  • Europe
  • United States
  • Innovation
  • Science and Technology
  • PUBJ-8000: Joint GT/GSU PhD Program
  • PUBP-3130: Research Methods
  • PUBP-4410: Science,Tech& Pub Policy
  • PUBP-6014: Organization Theory
  • PUBP-6401: Sci,Tech & Public Policy
  • PUBP-8101: Workshop Pub Pol Res I
  • PUBP-8102: Workshop Pub Pol Res II
  • PUBP-8500: Research Seminar
  • PUBP-8801: Special Topics
  • PUBP-8823: Special Topics
Recent Publications

Journal Articles

  • Authorship Norms and Project Structures in Science
       In: Science, Technology, & Human Values [Peer Reviewed]

    March 2017

    Scientific authorship has become a contested terrain in contemporary science. Based on a survey of authors across fields, we measure the likelihood of specialist authors (sometimes called “guest” authors): people who only made specialized contributions, such as data, materials, or funding; and “nonauthor collaborators” (sometimes referred to as “ghost” authors): those who did significant work on the project but do not appear as authors, across different research contexts, including field, size of the project team, commercial orientation, impact of publication, and organization of the collaboration. We find that guest and ghost authors are common, with about one-third of publications having at least one specialist author and over half having at least one nonauthor collaborator. We see significant cross-field variations in both overall rates and types of specialist authors and nonauthor collaborators. We find there are generally fewer specialist authors among highly cited papers and more graduate student nonauthor collaborators in single location projects. The results suggest authorship practices vary across fields, and by project characteristics, complicating the use of authorship lists as a basis for evaluation (especially when comparing across fields or types of projects). We discuss implications of these findings for interpreting author lists in the context of science policy.

  • Win, lose or draw? the fate of patented inventions
       In: Research Policy [Peer Reviewed]

    September 2016

    © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.Using information from a survey of US inventors, this study explores the reasons for patent non-use and different types of non-use at the patent level, and how this varies by industry and firm characteristics. We find that 55% of triadic patents are commercialized. We also find that 17% of all triadic patents are not commercialized but are at least partially for preemption, though only 3% of all triadic patents are purely preemptive patents. We find that preemptive non-use is less common than failed patents. We then test the discriminating effects of patent effectiveness, competition, firm size and fragmentation of patent rights on the likelihood of preemptive patents. We find that greater patent effectiveness, more competition, and large firm size are associated with greater preemptive non-use relative to commercial use of patents. We conclude with the policy implications of our results.

Working Papers

  • The acquisition and commercialization of invention in American manufacturing: Incidence and impact

    July 2016

    © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.Recent accounts suggest the development and commercialization of invention has become more "open." Greater division of labor between inventors and innovators can enhance social welfare through gains from trade and economies of specialization. Moreover, this extensive reliance upon outside sources for invention also suggests that understanding the factors that condition the extramural supply of inventions to innovators is crucial to understanding the determinants of the rate and direction of innovative activity. This paper reports on a recent survey of over 5000 American manufacturing sector firms on the extent to which innovators rely upon external sources of invention. Our results indicate that, between 2007 and 2009, 16% of manufacturing firms had innovated-meaning had introduced a product that was new to the industry. Of these, 49% report that their most important new product had originated from an outside source, notably customers, suppliers and technology specialists (i.e., universities, independent inventors and R&D contractors). We also compare the contribution of each source to innovation in the US economy. Although customers are the most common outside source, inventions acquired from technology specialists tend to be the more economically significant in term of their gross commercial value. As a group, external sources of invention make a significant contribution to the overall rate of innovation in the economy. Innovation policies, both public and private, should pay careful attention to the external supply of invention, and the efficiency of the mechanisms affecting the relationships between inventors and innovators.