Value Capture in Science: The Exchange Value Paradox

Susanne Beck, Maral Mahdad, Karin Beukel, Marion Poetz

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Capturing value from scientific knowledge has been described in the context of university-industry collaborations and science-based entrepreneurship. Value capture mechanisms aim to ensure a mainly monetary reward from the exchange of the value created (e.g., by patenting or licensing). However, most common knowledge dissemination mechanisms in science do not directly result into capturing monetary value. This leads to the paradoxical situation that scientists engage in value creation (i.e., scientific knowledge production) without anticipating to capture value. This study doubts that scientists act economically irrational. We explore how value capture principles work in science and how this affects the willingness to engage in value creation by distinguishing between use value and exchange value. Our findings show that the realized exchange value for scientists does not only consist of an objective monetary part, but also of a subjective part. This subjective exchange value is considered as valuable due to scientists needs (i.e., academic survival, ego-identity status validation, and societal impact). The desire to satisfy these needs drives scientists’ willingness to engage in scientific knowledge production. Our findings entail three theoretical contributions. First, we add to the understanding of value capture in science by exploring the scientists-specific relationship between value creation, value capture and their realized use and exchange value, as well as the underlying reasons why the realized exchange value is considered as valuable. Second, we discuss these findings in the light of open science. Third, we point on the importance to consider individual-level factors to assess value capture in science.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages43
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventDRUID18 Conference - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 11 Jun 201813 Jun 2018
Conference number: 40


ConferenceDRUID18 Conference
LocationCopenhagen Business School
Internet address


  • Value capture
  • Scientific value capture mechanisms
  • Open innovation in science
  • Subjective exchange value
  • Exchange value
  • Open science

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