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The Connecting Outcome Measures in Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Science (COMETS) database is the result of close to two decades of research, hard work, and dedication by a community of scholars working to join data about science, technology, and economic outcomes such that links between innovations, people, and businesses can be tracked better.  COMETS is a direct outgrowth of the earlier StarTechZD, STAR (Science and Technology Agents of Revolution), and NanoBank database initiatives.

COMETS is an integrated database which can trace the links from government investment in R&D through the path of knowledge creation, its transmission and codification, and ultimately in many cases to commercial uses yielding a better standard of living and better jobs. The COMETS database integrates data on government grants, dissertations, patents, and publicly available firm data. This project is designed specifically for broader impact. It provides a shared database that will advance discovery and enable research otherwise impossibly expensive for nearly any dissertation student or faculty member not located at one of the few elite institutions where significant parts of the COMETS Database are available. 

Please note that COMETS is tracking the universe of these activities, where available, not just the star scientist or select connections for which principle investigators, Lynne Zucker and Michael Darby, are most popularly known for.  


Because of commercial limitations and data rights issues to certain data elements, as well as ongoing production and corrections, COMETS appears in three forms with multiple versions (indicated by 1.0, 1.1, …, for minor updates and corrections and by 1.0, 2.0, …, for major updates expanding coverage). For example, COMETS 2.0 added to COMETS 1.0 the university (integrated IPEDS and HEGIS databases) and a significantly improved integration of the two NIH grants databases. The most convenient form is the public-use file COMETS and available here. the beta-test site COMETSbeta includes data being tested and corrected for future versions of COMETS. COMETS is combined with the STARS source files in COMETSandSTARS for on-site use at UCLA or the NBER.

The COMETS file available here is described in the following schematic.

Architecture and Contents of the COMETS Database

COMETS public-use

The COMETS publicly available through this website and currently allows for access to all data in the above chart which appears in bold type.  Work is actively underway on updates for this site for the data which appears in italics.  Additionally, the COMETS and STARS confidential data file, which will not be available online, will offer the additional matched data appearing in underlined type. We hope to include aggregate indicators derived from the data in blue on this site in future updates, dependent upon negotiations with data vendors.  Data for the ovals without data sources and future updates are dependent on securing additional funding.

COMETS and STARS confidential data file

Certain elements and source data files containing proprietary data used in constructing COMETS are under the vendors’ licensing terms available only to on-site academic or noncommercial users at UCLA or, in part, at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. These source files, containing primarily particular data on individuals, articles, and firms, are collectively termed the STARS database. Detailed extracts and some individual records from STARS are merged with the COMETS database in the COMETSandSTARS database for on-site use.

Individual, noncommercial users wishing to work on-site with the combined COMETSandSTARS database at UCLA or NBER should enquire of Lynne Zucker for current application procedures.


COMETS is based upon work supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (Grants 2008-0028 and 2008-0031) and the National Science Foundation (NSF SciSIP Grants SES-0830983, October 1, 2008-September 30, 2014, and SES-1158907, April 15, 2012-March 31, 2015).

Additional support is provided by Dean Frank Gilliam, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and by the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, and the Easton Technology Leadership Program in the UCLA Anderson School.

The original identification of nanoscale science and engineering records for StarTechZD was funded by NSF NIRT Grant SES-0304727 and by a series of grants from the Industry-University Cooperative Research Program (PP99-02, P00-04, P01-02, and P0301); the updates to these nanotechnology-IDs is being funded in part by NSF Harvard/UCLA NSEC Grant SES-0531146.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any of these funders.