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Innovation studies-an emerging discipline (or what)? A study of the global network of innovation scholars

Author

Listed:
  • Jan Fagerberg

    (Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo)

  • Bart Verspagen

    (Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo)

Abstract

Although innovation is not a new topic for scholarly research, the academic literature on innovation was, for a long time, not very voluminous. However, more recently innovation has become a major focus among scholars of different backgrounds, and this change is also reflected in an increasing number of academic publications in this area. In parallel with this we have seen the emergence of a number of new journals and professional associations devoted to the subject. The research reported in this paper is motivated by these trends. We wish to find an answer to the question to what extent it now exists a unified community of innovation scholars that identify themselves with innovation studies as a field rather than particular sub-fields within other, more traditional disciplines. Moreover, we want to explore the factors (sources of inspiration, academic leadership, professional societies, publishing outlets etc.) that bind scholars together or - alternatively - continue to keep them divided. The research reported in this paper is based on a web-survey carried out in during 2004 and 2005. The results suggest that a global innovation studies community exists as a collection of a large number of relatively small groups (characterized dense internal relationships) defined along geographical and disciplinary lines. Although the field has spread over many countries and disciplines, it is particularly developed in Europe and among scholars with a background in economics. These smaller groups, however, are embedded in larger transnational groups or clusters that are kept together by what is commonly referred to as "weak ties". Leading scholars, professional associations and journals all play an important role in keeping these larger groups together (as well as distinguishing them from each other).

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Fagerberg & Bart Verspagen, 2006. "Innovation studies-an emerging discipline (or what)? A study of the global network of innovation scholars," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20060911, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  • Handle: RePEc:tik:inowpp:20060911
    Note: Presented at the SPRU 40th Anniversary Conference on "The Future of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy", University of Sussex, September 11 - 13, 2006.
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Verspagen, Bart & Werker, Claudia, 2004. "Keith Pavitt and the Invisible College of the Economics of Technology and Innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1419-1431, November.
    2. Jan Fagerberg, 2003. "Innovation: A Guide to the Literature," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20031012, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Edward Bergman, 2009. "Embedding network analysis in spatial studies of innovation," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 43(3), pages 559-565, September.
    2. Voeten, Jaap & Haan, Job de & Groot, Gerard de, 2009. "Is that Innovation? Assessing Examples of Revitalized Economic Dynamics among Clusters of Small Producers in Northern Vietnam," MERIT Working Papers 055, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Innovation; Networks;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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