A bibliometric review of the technology transfer literature

  • Alejandro Bengoa
  • Amaia MasedaEmail author
  • Txomin Iturralde
  • Gloria Aparicio


This study explores academic research on technology transfer (TT) and the related themes. The TT field has attracted considerable scholarly attention in recent years and has grown rapidly, resulting in a large body of knowledge. Using a bibliometric approach, this study reviews related research issues as well as their influence and connections and provides directions for future research. It uses Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science database that includes 3218 bibliographic references. Several bibliometric analysis techniques and a subsequent review of the content of the most relevant documents are adopted. The performance analysis provided an updated overview of the evolution of the TT literature from 1969 to 2018 and quantitatively identified the most active and influential journals, articles, authors, and organizations. The co-authorship network analysis allowed us to identify and visualize the structure of relations between authors as well as determine the collaboration patterns among them. On the basis of the information supplied by the co-authorship network, the main literature was reviewed to identify the current status and research trends related to TT, identifying five main research streams and related topics. The implications of the study’s findings and directions for future TT research are finally discussed to enhance our understanding of TT agents and issues and support further research in this field.


Technology transfer Bibliometrics Performance analysis Co-authorship analysis 

JEL Classification

M15 O3 



The authors gratefully acknowledge comments and suggestions from Dr. Donald Siegel and anonymous referees on earlier versions of this paper. Any errors and misjudgements remain the responsibility of the authors.


Funding for this research was provided by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation & Universities (MCIU/AEI/FEDER-UE) under the Grant Number RTI2018-097579-B-100, by UPV/EHU under the Grant Number GIU16/46, and by FESIDE.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have not conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IK4-Tekniker Technology CentreEibarSpain
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and BusinessUniversity of the Basque Country, UPV/EHUBilbaoSpain

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