New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private
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New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private. Andrea Bonaccorsi University of Pisa Member of the High Level Expert Group on Maximizing the wider benefit of basic research and the European Research Council European Commission, DG Research

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New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Andrea Bonaccorsi

University of Pisa

Member of the High Level Expert Group on

Maximizing the wider benefit of basic research and the European Research Council

European Commission, DG Research

Six countries programme

Rotterdam, April 21, 2005


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Outline

The new scientific landscape: the emergence of new leading sciences

The performance of European science in new leading sciences

Moving boundaries between public and private


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

The new scientific landscape

A new scientific landscape has taken shape in the last 20 years or so. It results from the combination of several revolutionary advances:

- the molecular biology revolution, particularly after the recombinant DNA discovery and the development of PCR;

- the pervasive information technology revolution, resulting from advances in algorithms, computer science, microelectronics, and more recently from the convergence with telecommunication;

- new advances in materials science;

- new opportunities in nanotechnology, particularly after the invention of resonance microscopy.


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

  • The new scientific landscape

  • These new fields and disciplines share some intrinsic characteristics:

  • are based on reductionist explanation strategies, but deal with complex systems at various levels of resolution;

  • evolve through a complex interaction between scientific understanding and engineering manipulation, i.e. between sciences of nature and sciences of artificial;

  • include many general purpose technologies;

  • cut across disciplinary boundaries and actively promote overlapping.


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Search regimes

Rate of growth

- fast growing vs slow growing

Degree of diversity

- convergent dynamics vs divergent dynamics

Level of complementarity

- physical infrastructure vs. human capital and

institutional complementarity

New leading sciences(materials science, life sciences, computer science, incl. biotech and nanotech): fast growing, divergent dynamics, human capital and institutional complementarity

HLEG: definition offrontier research.


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

  • Rate of growth

  • How do new fields of research are generated within disciplines?

  • Which is the post-entry dynamics of growth? Which is the steady state rate of growth?

  • We study the entry of new words in scientific publications:

  • post-entry dynamics

  • arrival process within the scientific discipline and turnover ratio (new words/existing words)


Evidence from nanopublications

Evidence from Nanopublications

Source: Bonaccorsi and Thoma (2005)


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Number of occurrences of the word “Genetic algorithm” in the publications of the top 1000 scientists in computer science


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Number of occurrences of the word “Neural network” in the publications of the top 1000 scientists in computer science


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Number of occurrences of the word “Wireless” in the publications of the top 1000 scientists in computer science


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Number of occurrences of the word “Atomic force microscope” in the publications of the top 1000 scientists in high energy physics


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Number of occurrences of the word “Hadron collider” in the publications of the top 1000 scientists in high energy physics


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Total number of keywords and number of newly-appearing keywords in publications of top 1000 high energy physicists

30000

25000

20000

15000

10000

5000

0

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

Total number

New born


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Total number of keywords and number of newly-appearing keywords in publications of top 1000 computer scientists

6000

5000

4000

3000

2000

1000

0

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

Total number

New born


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Ratio between newly appearing keywords and total number of keywords in high energy physics and computer science

100,00

90,00

80,00

70,00

60,00

50,00

40,00

30,00

20,00

10,00

0,00

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

Computer science

High energy physics


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Stylized evidence on rates of growth

First, scientific fields grow at very different rates after entry. As a first broad distinction, there are fields that grow extremely rapidly and fields characterized by slow growth after entry. Post-entry growth rates sharply differ.

Second, disciplines largely differ in the composition of fields characterized by different rates of growth. In some disciplines it seems that new fields are generated continuously, so that the turnover ratio is extremely high, while in other disciplines the turnover is much lower.


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Degree of diversity: How many directions does search take?

Units of analysis: research programme (Lakatos) combined with the network of socio-technical constructs (Callon-Latour-Laredo-Pickering).

Levels of diversity:

1. Theory

2. Research question, goal or problem

3. Experimental technique and equipment

4. Object or locus of observation

Diversity may take place at any level.


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Degree of diversity

Because diversity is defined across all levels, our definition does not overlap with diversity in paradigms.

Paradigmatic change takes place mainly at the level of theories and research questions.

Within the same paradigm we may observe large diversity due to

- the use of different experimental infrastructure, with the associated procedures, practices and localized learning processes

- the selection of different objects or loci of observation, corresponding to different sub-hypotheses within the same general paradigm.


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

  • Degree of diversity

  • How many different directions does search take?

  • Even within the same paradigm and theory, research programmes may differ by:

  • specific hypotheses or research question

  • experimental technique

  • object or locus of observation

  • A dynamics of increasing diversity may be defined divergent.

  • Divergence may be:

  • strong (competing, non compatible hypotheses)

  • weak or complementary (mutually compatible hypotheses but diverging search strategies)


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

  • Convergent dynamics

  • diversity is stable or tends to decrease

  • most research programmes follow the same set of specific hypotheses and use the same tools

  • e.g. high energy physics, nuclear physics, astronomy, traditional chemistry, nuclear technology, aerospace, TLC, conventional engineering

  • Divergent dynamics

  • diversity explodes

  • the same theory or paradigm (e.g. molecular biology) gives origin to many competing or just diverse programmes

    e.g. HIV, Alzheimer, molecular oncology, nanotechnology, computer languages, computational chemistry


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

  • We study the concentration of keywords used in scientific publications

  • highly concentrated disciplines: a few keywords absorb a large share of publications- research programmes tend to converge along the same directions

  • highly fragmented disciplines: there are many directions of research, no dominant pattern.

  • Future research: mapping/ clustering of keywords over time


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Concentration of keywords in publications of top 1000 scientists in Computer science and High energy physics

Computer High

science energy

physics

Number of publications of top 1,000 scientists 9,062 41,770

Number of publications with keywords6,40134,379

Publications with keywords (%)71%82%

Number of different keywords18,03150,952

Average number of keywords per author5.355.44

Concentration ratio (C250)*26.5%29.3%

* Cumulative market share of top 250 keywords (Number of occurrences ofthe top 250 keywords/ total number of occurrences in all publications)


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Relative frequency of top keywords in High energy physics and Computer science


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Plot of rank correlation of top 250 keywords in High energy physics (r=.79)


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Plot of rank correlation of top 250 keywords in Computer science (r= .49)


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

  • Level of complementarity

  • Traditional type of complementarity in science:

  • physical facilities (e.g. big science)

  • New forms of complementarity:

  • human capital complementarity (different disciplinary background, need for flexibility in education, career, affiliation, organizational setting)

  • - institutional complementarity (different institutions involved, e.g. university/laboratory/ hospital in molecular medicine)


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

The performance of Europe in new leading sciences

(a) European science is strong in fields characterized by convergent search regimes and weak in fields characterized by divergent search regimes.

(b European science is strong in fields characterized by high levels of infrastructural complementarities while it is much less prepared in fields characterized by human capital and institutional complementarities.

(c) Consequently, European science is strong in fields characterized by slow growth and weak in fields characterized by turbulent growth.

(d) European science is only quantitatively comparable to US science but is weaker in the overall quality and is severely under-represented in the upper tail of scientific quality.


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Specialisation patterns

(Revealed Comparative Advantages, 1981-1994)

  • no European country is specialised in Computer science

  • no European country is specialised in Engineering;

  • in biology and biochemistry small European countries (Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland) exhibit strong specialisation while large countries have an index lower than unity;

  • in molecular biology several large countries (United Kingdom, Germany and France) and small countries (Netherlands, Finland, in addition to Switzerland) are specialised;

  • Europe as a whole is specialised in a few biomedical areas (pharmacology, immunology, microbiology) and in the large traditional disciplines of chemistry, physics and astronomy.


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

In materials science EU-15 produce 40,108 papers and receive 83,748 citations, while NAFTA produce 31,620 papers but receive 106,841 citations In the life sciences EU-15 produce 616,212 papers and US 529,608 in the period 1995-1999, but the citation impact (1993-1999) is 1.35 in USA and only 0.90 in EU-15 In computer science the citation impact (1993-1999) is 1.33 for Israel, 1.17 for US, but only in the range between 0.81 (Germany) and 0.95 (Italy) for the four largest countries Source: Third European Report on S&T Indicators (2003)


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

What do these disciplines have in common?

A divergent search regime

a dynamics of proliferating research programmes,often generated within the same paradigm,that increase the diversity of the fieldin terms of hypotheses, experimental techniques, objects of investigation.European science is strong in fields characterized by convergent search regimes and weak in fields characterized by divergent search regimes


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

What do these disciplines have in common?

A search regime characterized by new forms of complementarities

Not much physical infrastructure complementarity (big science)

But: - human capital complementarity

- institutional complementarity

European science is strong in fields characterized by high levels of infrastructural complementarities while it is much less prepared in fields characterized by human capital and institutional complementarities.


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

European science has developed separate institutions at national, intergovernmental and European level, for dealing with search regimes with strong physical infrastructure complementarities

(e.g. high energy physics, astronomy, space research, oceanography, nuclear technology).

It is much more difficult to provide emerging fields the required complementarities in terms of human capital within the common institutional framework.

There are few rapid growth mechanisms.


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

  • Rate of growth of broad disciplines

  • over the period 1995-1999 the fastest growing area has been computer science with a growth rate of almost 10%

  • earth sciences, engineering and mathematics also show high growth rates, varying between 4.2 and 4.6%

  • biology and agriculture have the lowest growth rates with 1.4 and 1.6% respectively

  • the broad field of life sciences as a whole experienced a growth rate of 2.33%

  • the growth rate for the broad field of engineering was 4.5%, of which 35% was materials science, that grew at 1.9% per year.

    European science is strong in fields characterized by slow growth and weak in fields characterized by turbulent growth


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Upper tail in quality of research. Piece of evidence # 1

Data on the most cited scientists worldwide have been recently made available by ISI on the basis of the analysis of 19 million papers in the period 1981-1999, authored by 5 million scientists.

They refer to around 5,000 scientists worldwide in all fields, selected as those 250 that receive the largest number of total citations in any subject area (0.1% of the total).

In all 21 fields US scientists largely dominate, with a proportion of highly cited scientists ranging from 40% in pharmacology and agricultural sciences to over 90% in economics/business and social sciences and an average around 60-70% of the total.

Among the 21 areas, only in other three areas non-US countries represent more than 40% of the total: physics, chemistry and plant and animal science (see Basu, 2004).


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

USA

US scientists dominate in each of the 21 subject areas of science

(Source:

Basu, 2004)


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

  • Piece of evidence # 2

  • We examined (with non-ISI sources) the publications of top 1,000 scientists by citations received along all their scientific career in

  • Computer science

  • High energy physics

  • and all publications in nanotechnology for the period 1990-2001 (ISI source).

  • We identified the most productive institutions in terms of total number of publications in the period and ranked the first 100.


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

Piece of evidence # 3

Institutions awarding degrees of the top 1,000 scientists in Computer science. Top 10 list

Bachelor Master PhD

MIT University of CaliforniaUniversity of California

University of CaliforniaMITStanford University

Indian Institute of

TechnologyStanford UniversityMIT

National Taiwan

UniversityHarvard UniversityHarvard University

Harvard UniversityUniversity of MassachusettsUniversity of Illinois

Cambridge UniversityCornell UniversityCarnegie-Mellon University

Yale UniversityCarnegie-Mellon UniversityCornell University

University of Michigan University of IllinoisUniversity of Michigan

Seoul National

UniversityPurdue UniversityUniversity of Wisconsin

California Institute of University of MichiganUniversity of Texas

Technology


New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

  • The performance of European science

  • Europe (possibly with the exception of UK and Scandinavian countries) has problems in matching a rapid quantitative growth with adequate quality and the ability to dominate the upper tail of scientific reputation

  • These problems largely come from the mismatch between new leading sciences and the prevailing institutional setting in most European countries

  • The European institutional setting:

    • exhibits weaker selection properties

    • has less flexibility

    • has few mechanisms for rapidmassive growth

    • encourages lower mobility

  • Under conditions of rapid and divergent growth, opportunity costs for scientists strongly increase.


  • New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

    Plot of rate of growth (average number of personnel per each year of life, T_PERS/INSTAG) against size (number of personnel, T_PERS). CNR 1957-1997

    Source: Bonaccorsi and Daraio (2003)


    New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

    Plot of rate of growth (average number of researchers per each year of life, T_RES/INSTAG) against size (number of researchers, T_RES). CNR 1957-1997

    Source: Bonaccorsi and Daraio (2003)


    New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

    The terms of the public-private debate

    Traditional rationale for public intervention- market failures in the provision of quasi-public goods

    (Nelson, 1959; Arrow, 1962).

    Criticism to the linear model of science-technology interaction (Rosenberg, 1976; 1982; Kline and Rosenberg’s chain-linked model)

    The problem of increasing returns, path-dependence and the public role as variety-preserving (Callon).

    The notion of innovation as unfolding process and the public role against system failure (Metcalfe, 2005).


    New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

    The new terms of the public-private debate

    Under divergent search regimes, the trade-off between exploration and exploitation is not sustainable for private firms in the long run.

    Private investment is not interested in reducing variety (Callon).

    Rather, it is aimed to maximize the potential for exploration and the ability to absorb external knowledge via the acquisition of access rights.

    Divergence forces a redefinition of the division of innovative labour between private and public.


    New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

    • The redefinition of the division of labour between public and private

    • Traditional boundaries cut across the nature of knowledge as a product:

    • basic knowledge (general, abstract, indeterminate use value,, imperfectly appropriable): public

    • applied knowledge (specific, concrete, quantifiable use value, easily appropriated): private

    • In the new landscape these boundaries are not appropriate.


    New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

    • The redefinition of the division of labour between public and private (2)

    • New boundaries follow the nature of the search process:

    • public sector has the interest to advance the whole tree of search and to keep options open: constitution of human capital + new types of infrastructures (eg databases)

    • private sector has the interest to access the search tree under conditions of non exclusivity


    New leading sciences and the changing boundaries between public and private

    • The new policy agenda

    • Joint laboratories

    • Matching funds

    • Mobility of researchers

    • Redesign of research careers

    • Time management

    • Redefinition of intellectual property rights (to grant access while keeping incentive to innovation high)


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