Transition of academic science in the entrepreneurial regime: scientific norms and cooperation forms
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- Shibayama, S. & Baba, Y. (2011) Sharing research tools in academia: the case of Japan. Science and Public Policy, 38(8), 649-659. [paper][doi]
- Shibayama, S. & Saka, A. (2011) Academic Entrepreneurship in Japanese Universities: Effects of University Interventions on Entrepreneurial and Academic Activities. NISTEP Discussion Paper No.66, Tokyo Japan. [paper]
- Cooperation between academic scientists is an essential driver of science. Many forms of cooperation are used in the academia; such as co-research, co-use of experimental devices, material transfer and data sharing. Academic cooperation has been importantly underpinned by a set of scientist norms in which research output produced by academic scientists is regarded as a property of the academia (Merton 1973).
- Since around the 1980s, policy makers and the science community have underscored the indispensable role of academic institutions in the innovation system (e.g., OECD 1999; National Academy of Sciences, 1993), and greater emphasis was placed on the direct and practical contribution of university research to society. In this regime called academic entrepreneurship (or academic capitalism), university-industry relationships (UIRs) and commercialization of academic resources have been encouraged (Etzkowitz, 1983, 1998; Slaughter and Leslie, 1997). Consequently, entrepreneurial activities in academia such as university startups, university patenting, technology transfer, and university-industry co-authorship have significantly increased (e.g., AUTM, 2007; Nagaoka et al., 2009).
- However, there has been a criticism that this regime shift is contradictory to traditional scientific norms and hampers the progress of science (Dasgupta and David, 1994; Nelson, 2004). Many empirical studies have shown that scientists involved in commercial activities and UIRs tend to withhold their research results and resources from other scientists (e.g., Campbell et al., 2000; Walsh et al., 2007). Thus, the regime shift might have weakened the very basis of science, even if entrepreneurship may directly contribute to society.
- Survey sample of 698 professors in Japanese universities (conducted in Feb-Apr 2009)
- Fields of life science & material science
Involvement in commercial activities
Entrepreneurial activities have become quite common in natural sciences in Japanese universities, although the level differs by field largely.
The three types of scientific norms are considered. Among those, the norms for open contribution and contribution to society significantly differ field by field.
Malfunction of academic cooperation
In terms of material transfer (as a typical form of cooperation in natural sciences), some requests (around 10%) are not fulfilled for some reasons. This ratio of denial is attributed to the norms and the participation in entrepreneurial activities.
Forms of cooperation
According to social exchange theory, the form of sharing can be categorized as generalized exchange (GE) and direct exchange (DE), where the former is traditionally supposed to be common in academia. However, our results indicate that the GE form has become less common and more likely to be denied when academic entrepreneurship (AE) prevails. In addition, the overall transaction volume declines when AE prevails.