What We Know about Open Innovation, Unresolved Issues, and a Checklist for Future Research

Keld Laursen*, Ammon Salter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We synthesize and provide a critical overview of the set of quantitative papers on open innovation which have had an influence on analyses of open innovation in a corporate strategy context. We categorize the literature into (a) firms’ external search and knowledge sourcing activities, (b) absorptive capacity, and (c) appropriability. We discuss the firm and individual level contributions to each of these literature streams, identifying those contributions specific to knowledge about open innovation and unresolved issues which represent future research opportunities. In addition, we try to draw some lessons in terms of future challenges for open innovation research in relation to the growth and influence of this domain. Specifically, we discuss some specific problems related to the robustness, validity, reliability, and causal identification of open innovation research, and how these might be overcome through a new research approach. We conclude by proposing a checklist for future quantitative empirical studies of open innovation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Industrial and Business Economics
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)743-764
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 11 October 2023.


  • Open innovation
  • Critical overview
  • External search
  • Absorptive capacity
  • Appropriability
  • The future of open innovation research

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