Cooperation, scale-invariance and complex innovation systems: a generalization
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The focus of this paper is the question “Can scale-invariant properties of collaborative research activities of a complex innovation system be quantified, modeled and used to inform decision makers about the effect that cooperation has on the impact of published peer-reviewed research?” Over the past few decades cooperative research activities have been extensively studied. Presently, encouragement and support for collaborative research and training is a cornerstone of many innovation policies and programs. Concurrently, the study of complex systems has produced tools and techniques that can be applied to the study of innovation systems. They have been shown to be complex systems with scale-invariant properties that can be measured and modeled providing novel insights to decision makers. An important factor contributing to the emergence of scale-invariant properties is the inseparable tension between competitive and cooperative activities among actors within a complex system. Peer-reviewed papers index in the 1990–2010 Web of Science and citations to these papers are used as a partial measure of size and impact, respectively. Documents are classified into 14 natural, health and applied sciences fields. Numbers of authors and country information from each paper are used to classify documents into various types of cooperation. Scale-invariant correlations between impact and sizes where prepared to provide measures and models used to explore the effects of cooperation types. It is shown that collaborative research tends to have greater impact and for a longer period of time that non-collaborative research. Cooperation in the more applied fields show higher growth of impact when compared to the growth of their sizes than cooperation in fields closer to the basic or ‘blue sky’ end of the R&D spectrum. Cooperation in a complex innovation system can have significant effects on the relative growth of impact with respect to growth of size and it enhances the sustainability of the Matthew Effect over time. Cooperative activities appear to sustain self-organization in a complex innovation system.
KeywordsAllometric Cooperation Collaboration Complex system Innovation Power-law Scale-invariant Self-similar Scale independent
This work was supported, in part, by FONDECYT Chile. Grant # 1180200.
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