I wonder whether any country gives some incentives for private, non-educational enterprises (e.g., Baidu, Google or Microsoft) to publish research papers, aside from research grants.

  • 2
    Patents fit the bill.
    – alamar
    Commented Mar 24 at 19:02
  • 1
    @alamar Depends. The amount of scientific rigor in a patent is probably 5% of a proper academic research paper.
    – user71659
    Commented Mar 25 at 16:45
  • Frame challenge - why would commercial enterprises excert that specific amount of scientific rigor? What's in for them. If they want they can always set up a dedicated research institution.
    – alamar
    Commented Mar 25 at 16:49
  • @alamar One: what's the difference between a "dedicated research institution" and "commercial enterprise"? See corporate research labs (Bell Labs, HP Labs, Microsoft/Google Research, NVIDIA Research, HRL). Two: scientific rigor is needed for regulatory approval, e.g. new drugs and medical devices, pesticides, food additives, etc.
    – user71659
    Commented Mar 25 at 17:25
  • @user71659 I don't believe any existing mechanisms of regulatory approval involves publishing articles in scientific journals with peer review, for example. The patented invention is usually expected to work, which is a different kind of high bar and the one which scientific papers rarely pass.
    – alamar
    Commented Mar 25 at 17:56

2 Answers 2


In the U.S. the main governmental incentive for employees of commercial enterprises to publish scientific research papers at company expense is in the Food and Drug Administration's process for approving new drugs for a particular on-label purpose.

This requires a scientific study, the results of which are often reported in the form of a research paper, disclosing the safety and effectiveness of the drug as determined in clinical trials of the drug.

These things must be established for scientific rigor for a new drug to be approved for use outside of clinical trials.



This question somewhat incorrectly assumes that commercial companies are interested in publishing research papers. This is often not the case, as publishing means sharing the expensive discoveries with competitors. Direct governmental payment for anything published would mostly result funding of half-adverts.

How is this done instead

States provide tax incentives for research and development. The document describing these for the case of Germany can be found here. The R&D definition adopted for tax purposes encompasses basic research, industrial research and experimental development but not production.

In Switzerland, new startups often originate as continuation of the PhD thesis of they founders. For a first few years such startups are allowed to stay in the state funded university infrastructure, using many resources for free, from buildings till library access (with many expensive journals available) and large scientific equipment (not consumables). I am under impression this is permitted as for the rule violations would be way too common.

It may also be possible to receive prototype contracts from the government. The money are paid for developing a prototype rather than for providing a finished, tested machine or other product ready for the actual use. This increases the number of companies who can afford this kind of research.

  • 1
    Does that require publishing papers, though?
    – alamar
    Commented Mar 25 at 15:20
  • It can be used for the work that yields to publishing papers. Generally companies are seldom inclined to publish they discoveries, so demand to share that they found with competitors would make such support inaccessible.
    – Stančikas
    Commented Mar 25 at 16:27
  • Then it does not answer the question.
    – alamar
    Commented Mar 25 at 16:47

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