Selected Economic Papers
Edited by Jean-Philippe Touffut
Chapter 7: Cooperation, creativity and closure in scientific research networks: modelling the dynamics of epistemic communities
Paul A. David 1 MODELLING THE WORKINGS OF OPEN SCIENCE COMMUNITIES: MOTIVATION AND BACKGROUND The Pursuit of Knowledge and the Sources of Technological Change Economists seeking to understand the sources of technological change have focused their attention on the dynamics of the diffusion of innovations, and the generation and distribution of knowledge underpinning the development and commercial introduction of new products or production methods. Quite rightly, their quest for clearer vision of the insides of the ‘black boxes’ of technology and of innovation will continue to command the major share of the analytical and empirical attention devoted to providing firmer microeconomic foundations for theories of endogenous economic growth.1 Compared with what has already been learned about institutional arrangements and business strategies affecting corporate R&D investments or the mechanisms enabling private appropriation of research benefits, it is surprising that very little is known about the institutional infrastructures and micromotives that influence the allocation of economic resources within the domain of non-commercial, ‘academic’ science. The ‘science base’, as the publicly funded civilian R&D sector has come to be referred to in Britain, remains a sphere of activity which economic analysis tends to discuss more in terms of external effects than of internal workings.2 Research of an exploratory character, undertaken to discover new phenomena, or to explain the fundamental properties of physical systems, is cited as a source of useful innovations in instrumentation or in generic techniques valued in applied research – for example, synchrotron radiation and restriction-enzyme methods for ‘genesplicing’. Indirect...
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