Reconfiguring Knowledge Production: Changing Authority Relationships in the Sciences and their Consequences for Intellectual Innovation

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The governance of the public sciences has profoundly changed since the Second World War, especially with regard to funding structures, the autonomy, and accountability of public research organizations and universities, and the extent to which research is steered towards societal usefulness. Going beyond previous analyses of these changes in science studies, science policy, and higher education studies, this book presents and applies a novel approach that provides anintegrated assessment of changes in public science systems and their impact on scientific innovation. Its basic assumptions are (i) that all changes in public science systems (PSS) affect authority relations - the interests and action capabilities of authoritative agencies in science - and (ii) that the authority relations concerning the selection of goals and approaches in research as well as the integration of research results are the channel through which changes in PSS affect the production of scientific knowledge and particularly scientific innovation. This focus on authority relations asthe key interface integrating changes in governance and translating them into changes in the production of scientific knowledge is an important innovation because the effects of governance at the performance level of the science system have been largely neglected by other approaches. By demonstrating that changes in authority relations are field-specific and have field-specific effects on knowledge production , and that these field-specific authority relations do indeed affect the conditions for intellectual innovation, the perspective explored in this book challenges science policy studies to 'bring work back in' to the study of the organisation and governance of the sciences.
Publication Date:
22 / 07 / 2010

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