Examining Open Innovation in Science (OIS): What Open Innovation Can and Cannot Offer the Science of Science

Susanne Beck*, Marcel LaFlamme*, Carsten Bergenholtz, Marcel Bogers, Tiare Brasseur, Marie Louise Conradsen, Kevin Crowston, Diletta Di Marco, Agnes Effert, Despoina Filiou, Lars Frederiksen, Thomas Gillier, Marc Gruber, Carolin Haeussler, Karin Hoisl, Olga Kokshagina, Maria-Theresa Norn, Marion Poetz, Gernot Pruschak, Laia Pujol PriegoAgnieszka Radziwon, Alexander Ruser, Henry Sauermann, Sonali K. Shah, Julia Süss-Reyes, Christopher L. Tucci, Philipp Tuertscher, Jane Bjørn Vedel, Roberto Verganti, Jonathan Wareham, Sunny Mosangzi Xu

*Corresponding author for this work

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Scholars across disciplines increasingly hear calls for more open and collaborative approaches to scientific research. The concept of Open Innovation in Science (OIS) provides a framework that integrates dispersed research efforts aiming to understand the antecedents, contingencies, and consequences of applying open and collaborative research practices. While the OIS framework has already been taken up by science of science scholars, its conceptual underpinnings require further specification. In this essay, we critically examine the OIS concept and bring to light two key aspects: 1) how OIS builds upon Open Innovation (OI) research by adopting its attention to boundary-crossing knowledge flows and by adapting other concepts developed and researched in OI to the science context, as exemplified by two OIS cases in the area of research funding; 2) how OIS conceptualises knowledge flows across boundaries. While OI typically focuses on well-defined organisational boundaries, we argue that blurry and even invisible boundaries between communities of practice may more strongly constrain flows of knowledge related to openness and collaboration in science. Given the uptake of this concept, this essay brings needed clarity to the meaning of OIS, which has no particular normative orientation towards a close coupling between science and industry. We end by outlining the essay’s contributions to OI and the science of science, as well as to science practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInnovation: Organization & Management
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)221-235
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 5 December 2021.


  • Open innovation in science
  • Open innovation
  • Open science
  • Science of science
  • Knowledge flows
  • Boundaries
  • Boundary crossing
  • Scientific research

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