This article presents a model for the evaluation of scientific research output from the standpoint of university engagement with the socio-economic environment based on a scientometric analysis of topical areas. The primary aim was to examine various interrelations between conventional and alternative scientometric indicators that most clearly reflect the relationship between universities, industry and society. Three countries and five topical research areas were chosen as the object of the study. A comparative analysis showed that conventional scientometric indicators correlate quite well with the indicators of social and commercial relevance of scientific research. However, since this relationship was not observed in the case of Brazil, an assumption was made about the influence of the national and disciplinary context. The evaluation of university engagement cannot be performed based exclusively on quantitative indicators, thus requiring qualitative assessment, e. g. peer review.