Triple Helix Issue of Scientometrics 58(2), (forthcoming)

Loet Leydesdorff loet at LEYDESDORFF.NET
Tue Aug 5 05:48:39 EDT 2003

Topical Issue of Scientometrics 58(2), forthcoming October 2003


The Triple Helix of  <>
University-Industry-Government Relations

Loet Leydesdorff and Martin Meyer

The Triple Helix of university-industry-government relations provides a
neo-evolutionary model of the process of innovation that is amenable to
measurement. Economic exchange, intellectual organization, and
geographical constraints can be considered as different dynamics that
interact in a knowledge-based economy as a complex system.
Differentiation spans the systems of innovation, while performative
integration enables organizations to retain wealth from knowledge.
Because of the systematic organization of interfaces among the
subsystems under study, different perspectives can be expected in the
reflection. Consequences for the heuristics, the research design, and
normative implications are specified and the organization of the issue
is further explained.


a. The geographical perspective on systems of innovation

1.      Danell, Rickard & Olle Persson, “Regional R&D Activities and
Interactions in the Swedish Triple Helix”
The Swedish innovation system is analysed in terms of the interaction
between academia, government and the private sector. For each of 21
Swedish regions we analyse the distribution of research activities,
doctoral employment, and publication output, as well as the flow of
doctoral graduates and the distribution of co-authorship links across
regions and sectors. The three main urban regions have about 75 percent
of all R&D activities and outputs. They also have a more balanced supply
of academic, governmental and private research activities than the
smaller regions, and the interactions among sectors within these regions
are more intense. The inter-regional flow of PhDs is also to the
advantage of the big regions.  So far, decentralization of the academic
sector does not seem to have had as similar decentralizing effect on
private R&D. Unless this imbalance changes, smaller regions will
continue to be net exporters of skill and knowledge to the big regions.
2.      Goktepe, Devrim, “The Triple Helix as a Model to Analyze the
Isreali Magnet Program and Lessons for Late-Developing Countries like
Although the systemic changes towards innovation networking between
university-industry and governmental actors have recently found a place
on the international policy and literature agenda, networking between
the organizations and people -for the national survival, production and
growth- has been deeply rooted in the Israeli system even before the
establishment of the Israeli State in 1948. Internal and international
constraints fostered the formation of personal links, as did
institutional settings that promoted networking. This paper reviews the
interaction of societal, organizational and cultural features that
render innovation networks in Israel successful. The research focuses on
the impacts of the Israeli Magnet Program on the Israeli R&D growth and
performance. The implications of innovation networks for a
late-developing country like Turkey are reviewed in the contexts of
catching-up and cross-regional collaboration between the Israeli and
Turkish industries and academies.
3.      Verbeek, Arnold, Koenraad Debackere, & Marc Luwel, “Science
cited in patents: A geographic ‘flow’ analysis of bibliographic citation
patterns in patents”
The interplay and cross-fertilization between science and technology,
but also the specific role of science for technological development,
have received ample attention in both the research and the policy
communities. It is in this context that the concepts of ‘absorptive
capacity’ and ‘knowledge spillovers’ play an important role. We
operationalize the science-technology link by quantifying and modeling
bibliographic references to the scientific literature as they occur in
patents. This approach allows exploring the associative patterns between
science creation (as emerging from the scientific literature) and
technology development (as emerging from the patent literature). In the
current paper, we focus on an analysis of the geographic distribution of
the science citation patterns in patents, singling out two fields of
(different) technological development, namely biotechnology and
information technology. In both fields, the science citation flows from
the European, Japanese and US science bases into USPTO and EPO-patents
are explored and modeled. Intensive geographic citation flows between
the regions are identified, pointing (amongst others) to the strength of
both the US and the European science bases as sources for technological
activity and creativity around the world.

b. University-industry relations in a knowledge-based economy

4.      Bhattacharya, Sujit, & Martin Meyer, “Large Firms and the
Science/Technology Interface: Patents, Patent Citations, and Scientific
Output of Multinational Corporations in Thin Films”
Firms operating in science-based technological fields reflect some of
the complexities of the science-technology interaction. The present
study attempts to investigate these interactions by analyzing patent
citations, publication and patent outputs of multinational corporations
(MNCs) in ‘thin film’ technology. In particular we explore different
characteristics of knowledge production and knowledge utilization of
these firms. The results indicate no correlation between intensity of
research activity and patents produced by the MNCs. The relationship
between scientific and technological knowledge generation as well as the
linkage between science and technology appear to be firm-specific rather
than dependent on a technological or industrial sector. The dispersion
of journal sources for the majority of patent citations of scientific
literature as well as for the majority of scientific outputs is narrow.
Basic journals play an important role in patent citation as well as in
addressing research of MNCs in thin-film technology.
5.      Gray, Denis O., & Harm-Jan Steenhuis, “Quantifying the Benefits
of Participating in an Industry University Research Center: An
Examination of Research Cost Avoidance”
The challenges to conducting valid and complete outcome evaluations of
cooperative research activities, like the National Science Foundation
Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) Program, are
daunting. The current study tries to make a small but important
contribution to this area by attempting to develop quantitative
estimates of one center benefit – R&D cost avoidance.  Cost avoidance is
operationalized as R&D costs industrial members would have incurred but
did not, because they participated in university-based industrial
consortia, minus the costs of belonging to the consortia. Data were
collected from a total of 18 industrial sponsors from three IUCRCs on 35
different research projects. Findings indicate that some firms do avoid
R&D costs by participating in an IUCRC but the prevalence of this
benefit varies across centers and across firms.  The implications of
these findings for policy, practice and future research are discussed.
6.      Ranga, Liana Marina, Koenraad Debackere, & Nick von Tunzelman,
“Entrepreneurial Universities and the Dynamics of Academic Knowledge
Production: a case study of basis versus applied research in Belgium”
This paper explores issues related to the impact of Science-Industry
relationships on the knowledge production of academic research groups,
in particular on the alleged shift to the more applied research end
under the influence of business partners’ needs. Our findings from a
case study of the Belgian Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U. Leuven)
show a significant steady growth over time of publications produced by
academic research groups involved in University-Industry linkages,
closely related to factors both internal and external to the university
that have stimulated academic entrepreneurial behaviour. On an
aggregated level for 1985-2000, basic research publications appear to be
more present than applied ones, both in total numbers and in growth
rates. Our findings show that applied and basic research publications
generally rose together in the same year. No clear and generalised
evidence of a shift towards the applied research end determined by the
involvement in U-I linkages was found, the weak indications of such a
shift within groups coming only for groups that have already high
applied versus basic orientation. These results suggest that the
academic research groups examined have developed a record of applied
publications without affecting their basic research publications and,
rather than differentiating between applied and basic research
publications, it is the combination of basic and applied publications
that consolidate the group’s R&D potential. Accordingly, critical
assessments of the University side of the emerging ‘Triple Helix’ need
to take into account the dynamic nature of the research dimension.
7.      Meyer, Martin, Tatiana Goloubeva, & Jan Timm Utecht, “Towards
Hybrid Triple Helix Indicators: A Study of University-related Patents
and a Survey of Academic Inventors.”
This paper presents work directed at capturing the entrepreneurial and
collaborative activity of university researchers. The Triple Helix
points to the emergence of the entrepreneurial university as well as to
an increasing overlay of activities in universities, industry and
government. This study explores ways in which patent-based metrics could
be utilized in a Triple Helix context, and how hybrid indicators could
be developed by combining patent with survey data. More specifically, it
aims to develop indicators that connect technological inventiveness of
university researchers to both funding organizations and users, as well
as to entrepreneurial activities by academics. The paper develops a
simplified model of the innovation process to benchmark the relevance of
the indicators to the Triple Helix. An analysis of Finnish academic
patents illustrates that patent data can already provide useful
indicators but, on its own, cannot provide information about how
academic patents are interconnected with government or industry through
funding or utilization links. An exclusive analysis of patents can point
to patent concentrations on certain universities, to inventors and
assignees, or to potential gaps in translating applied science into
industrial technology. However, the patent data had to be combined with
an inventor survey in order to relate academic patents more to their
Triple Helix environment. The survey indicated that most patented
academic inventions are connected to (often publicly funded) scientific
research by the inventors and tend to be utilized in large firms rather
than in start-up companies founded by academic entrepreneurs.
8.      Cozzens, Susan & Kamau Bobb, “Measuring the Relationship between
High Technology Development Strategies and Wage Inequality”
Growing income and wage inequality in a range of countries has raised
concern. High-technology development may be contributing to this
inequality, by encouraging higher wages at the upper end of the income
distribution. Most studies of the possibility of this effect have used
generic, aggregated data. In this paper, we introduce the possibility of
linking wage inequality directly to specific industrial strategies using
the Theil index of inequality. This measure portrays the portion of wage
inequality that is attributable to wages in specific industries. We
illustrate this concept with data from U.S. states.

c. The intellectual organization of knowledge-based innovations

4.      Bhattacharya, Sujit, Hildrun Kretschmer, & Martin Meyer,
“Characterizing Intellectual Spaces between Science and Technology”
The paper presents a methodology for studying the interactions between
science and technology. Our approach rests mostly on patent citation and
co-word analysis. In particular, this study aims to delineate
intellectual spaces in thin-film technology in terms of
science/technology interaction. The universe of thin-film patents can be
viewed as the macro-level and starting point of our analysis. Applying a
bottom-up approach, intellectual spaces at the micro-level are defined
by tracing prominent concepts in publications, patents, and their
citations of scientific literature. In another step, co-word analysis is
used to generate meso-level topics and sub-topics. Overlapping
structures and specificities that emerge are explored in the light of
theoretical understanding of science-technology interactions. In
particular, one can distinguish prominent concepts among patent
citations that either co-occur in both thin-film publications and
patents or reach out to one of the two sides. Future research may
address the question to what extent one can interpret directionality
into this.
5.      Heimeriks, Gaston & Peter van den Besselaar, “Mapping
Communications and Collaboration in Heterogeneous Research Networks” 
The aim of this mainly methodological paper is to present an approach
for researching the triple helix of university-industry-government
relations as a heterogeneous and multi-layered communication network.
The layers included are: the formal scholarly communication in academic
journals, the communication network based on project collaborations, and
finally the communication of information over the ‘virtual’ network of
web links. The approach is applied on typical ‘Mode 2’ fields such as
biotechnology, while using a variety of data sources. We present some of
the initial findings, which indicate the different structures and
functions of the three layers of communication.
6.      Glänzel, Wolfgang & Martin Meyer, “Patents Cited in the
Scientific Literature: An Exploratory Study of ‘Reverse’ Citation
This paper reports on a new approach to study the linkage between
science and technology. Unlike most contributions to this area we do not
trace citations of scientific literature in patents but explore
citations of patents in scientific literature. Our analysis is based on
papers recorded in the 1996-2000 annual volumes of the CD Edition of
Science Citation Index® (SCI) of the Institute for Scientific
Information (ISI) and patent data provided by the US Patent and
Trademark Office. Almost 30,000 US patents were cited by scientific
research papers. We analysed the citation links by scientific fields and
technological sectors. Chemistry-related subfields tended to cite
patents more than other scientific area. Among technological sectors,
chemicals clearly dominates followed by drugs and medical patents as the
most frequently cited categories. Further analyses included a
country-ranking based on inventor-addresses of the cited patents, a more
detailed inspection of the ten most cited patents, and an analysis of
class-field transfers. The paper concludes with the suggestions for
future research. One of them is to compare our ‘reverse’ citation data
with ‘regular’ patent citation data within the same classification
system to see whether citations occur, irrespectively of their
directionality, in the same fields of science and technology. Another
question is as to how one should interpret reverse citation linkages.
7.      Ortega Priego, José Luis, “A Vector Space Model as
methodological approach to the Triple Helix dimensionality: A
comparative study of Biology and Biomedicine Centers of two European
National Research Councils from a Webometric View.”
The aim of this paper is to propose a Vector Space Model as a new
methodological approach which allows us to present the relationships
between the elements of the Triple Helix Model (University, Industry,
Government) in a spacial model by using the webpages of the National
Research Councils of Germany and Spain as examples. Outlinks of the
Biomedicine and Biology centres of these national councils were analysed
with the intention of representing graphically these relationships
through the Vector Space Model that allows for Multidimensional Scaling
in three dimensions. Results show a map with the differences and
similarities between the Spanish and German cases. It may be concluded
that these results could become a qualitative indicator of a scientific
and technical reality.
8.      Leydesdorff, Loet, “The Mutual Information of
<> University-Industry-Government
Relations: An Indicator of the Triple Helix Dynamics”
University-industry-government relations provide a networked
infrastructure for knowledge-based innovation systems. This
infrastructure organizes the dynamic fluxes locally and the knowledge
base remains emergent given these conditions. Whereas the relations
between the institutions can be measured as variables, the interacting
fluxes generate a probabilistic entropy. The mutual information among
the three institutional dimensions provides us with an indicator of this
entropy. When this indicator is negative, self-organization can be
expected. The self-organizing dynamic may temporarily be stabilized in
the overlay of communications among the carrying agencies. The various
dynamics of Triple Helix relations at the global and national levels, in
different databases, and in different regions of the world, are
distinguished by applying this indicator to scientometric and webometric


Loet Leydesdorff 
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR)
Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam
Tel.: +31-20- 525 6598; fax: +31-20- 525 3681 
 <mailto:loet at> loet at ;

 <> The Challenge of
Scientometrics ;  <> The
Self-Organization of the Knowledge-Based Society
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