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Publication - Dr Harry Pitts

    Open Science and Open Innovation in a socio‐political context

    knowledge production for societal impact in an age of post‐truth populism


    Smart, P, Holmes, S, Lettice, F, Pitts, FH, Zwiegelaar, J, Schwartz, G & Evans, S, 2019, ‘Open Science and Open Innovation in a socio‐political context: knowledge production for societal impact in an age of post‐truth populism’. R and D Management, vol 49., pp. 279-297


    This conceptual paper traces the origins and progress of Open Science and proposes its generative coupling to Open Innovation in a socio-political context. This context is one of changing knowledge production regimes and institutional pressures that create contradictions identifiable through the prism of the series of scientific norms conceptualised by Robert K. Merton. This paper takes a sociological perspective with the view that scientific knowledge production is a societally embedded process, as is well illustrated by scholarship in the Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Science in Society fields. Finally, this paper considers the (co)evolution, co-existence and co-production of Open Science and notes how it shares attributes of other recent diagnoses of changing knowledge production regimes; in particular Mode 2, post-normal science and the Quadruple Helix. It is argued that Open Science can be coupled with Open Innovation to generate positive societal change, but that the rise of a populist ‘post-truth’ era opposed to objectivity, expertise and technocratic political solutions gives the demand for openness and participation a different complexion. Merton’s norms provide a useful lens to view recent shifts in the delivery of science, knowledge and innovation in society towards more inclusive, ethical and sustainable outcomes; and help to expose the limited reflection on how the appropriation and exploitation of open scientific knowledge encounters industrial R&D and Open Innovation.

    Full details in the University publications repository