We investigate how time spent in different collaborative research arrangements by academic scientists affect their propensity of involvement in the commercialization of novel, university‐originated technologies. Three common collaborative strategies used by academic scientists: (1) internal (within the research group or within the home university) research collaboration; (2) cosmopolitan research collaboration (with scientists in other US or foreign universities); or (3) university–industry research collaboration are assessed. Drawing on the concepts of cognitive and spatial distance, the empirical findings suggest that only one internal research collaboration strategy has a significant impact on the propensity of academic scientists to engage in the commercialization of novel technologies with a private firm; however, this relationship is inverse U shaped. More importantly, academic scientists adopting a university–industry collaboration strategy and spending more research time in such an arrangement have a significantly stronger propensity for being involved in technology commercialization with a private firm; however, this relationship is inverse U shaped as well. We discuss the managerial and policy implications of the findings.