Science & Education

, Volume 22, Issue 10, pp 2511-2527

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Sociological and Communication-Theoretical Perspectives on the Commercialization of the Sciences

  • Loet LeydesdorffAffiliated withAmsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam Email author 


Both self-organization and organization are important for the further development of the sciences: the two dynamics condition and enable each other. Commercial and public considerations can interact and “interpenetrate” in historical organization; different codes of communication are then “recombined”. However, self-organization in the symbolically generalized codes of communication can be expected to operate at the global level. The Triple Helix model allows for both a neo-institutional appreciation in terms of historical networks of university-industry-government relations and a neo-evolutionary interpretation in terms of three functions: (1) novelty production, (2) wealth generation, and (3) political control. Using this model, one can appreciate both subdynamics. The mutual information in three dimensions enables us to measure the trade-off between organization and self-organization as a possible synergy. The question of optimization between commercial and public interests in the different sciences can thus be made empirical.