The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 508–531 | Cite as

Conflict between entrepreneurship and open science, and the transition of scientific norms

  • Sotaro ShibayamaEmail author


In the trend of academic entrepreneurship, practical and direct contribution of university research to the society has been emphasized, in which university scientists have increasingly engaged in commercial activities, university-industry relationships, and technology transfers. However, this trend has aroused concern about a potentially negative impact on the tradition of open science. Drawing on a survey data of 698 Japanese natural scientists, this study analyzes the behaviors and norms of university scientists under the influence of university interventions for entrepreneurship, whereby examining the compatibility between entrepreneurship and open science. The results indicate that entrepreneurial interventions have facilitated scientists’ norm for practical contribution, and consequently, their involvement in commercial activities and ties with industry. Then, some, but not all, of these entrepreneurial activities have deterred cooperative or open relationships between scientists. However, the results suggest that the entrepreneurial interventions have not deteriorated the traditional norm for open science. Further analyses indicate that the two norms for practical contribution and for open science are determined independently, implying that academic entrepreneurship can be promoted without deteriorating open science.


Entrepreneurship Academic capitalism Commercialism Open science Scientific norm 

JEL Classification

I23 O38 



I acknowledge Prof. John P. Walsh at Georgia Institute of Technology and Prof. Yasunori Baba at the University of Tokyo for their invaluable support for this project. I appreciate an anonymous reviewer for critical comments. I also appreciate Prof. Cristiano Antonelli at the University of Turin for reviewing an earlier version of this paper presented at BRICK-DIME-STRIKE workshop, the Organization Economics and Policy of Scientific Research, in 2010. I wish to express my gratitude to all the interviewees and respondents of the survey. I acknowledge Ms. Ayaka Saka and Mr. Terutaka Kuwahara at National Institute of Science and Technology Policy for providing the national survey data, and Prof. Hideaki Takeda at the National Institute of Informatics for providing the national grant database. I thank Ms. Asako Chiba for technical support. This study is supported by Postdoctoral Fellowships for Research Abroad of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Institute of Science and Technology Policy.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public PolicyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Research Center for Advanced Science and TechnologyThe University of TokyoMeguro-ku, TokyoJapan
  3. 3.National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP)Chiyoda-ku, TokyoJapan

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