[Report]The 36th PoP seminar:Academic Entrepreneurship and Evolution of Academic Cooperation

Policy Platform Seminar Series on Economics of Science and Innovation
Academic Entrepreneurship and Evolution of Academic Cooperation

Speaker: Sotaro SHIBAYAMA – Associate Professor, School of Engineering, University of Tokyo / Science, Technology and Innovation Governance Education & Research Program
Time & Date: Oct 26: 4:50-6:50 pm
Venue: Lecture Room 33, Sch. Eng. Bldg. 3 Univ Tokyo Hongo Campus
Language: English

Academic research has become increasingly entrepreneurial over the last decades as science and technology policies have been reformed to strengthen the link between academia and industry. In this trend of academic entrepreneurship, universities and academics worldwide have increasingly engaged in entrepreneurial activities, but there is growing concern about the effects of this new regime on the traditional norms and practices of science. With this regard, prior literature has been primarily concerned about anti-ooperative behaviors of entrepreneurially active scientists, suggesting that academics who engage in commercial activities, collaborate with industry, and receive funds from industry are likely to withhold their research material and avoid sharing research information. However, few studies have examined more fundamental effects on the majority of academics who themselves are not engaged in entrepreneurial activities. This study aims to examine how the entrepreneurial regime has transformed the norms of academics, especially focusing on the resource sharing among academics. To this end, this study draws on empirical analyses based on a survey of life and material scientists in Japanese universities and mathematical analysis based on evolutionary game theory. Results indicate that high levels of academic entrepreneurship can lead to less reliance on the gift-giving form of sharing (i.e., generalized exchange) traditionally prescribed in academia, and with a greater emphasis on direct benefits for givers (i.e., direct exchange), as well as a lower overall frequency of sharing. We observe these shifts in sharing behavior even among academics who are not entrepreneurially active; this suggests a general shift in scientific norms contingent on institutional contexts. These findings reflect contradictions inherent in current science policies that simultaneously encourage open science as well as commercial application of research results, and suggest that the increasing emphasis on entrepreneurial activities may fundamentally change the normative structure of science.​

Shibayama, S., Walsh J.P. & Baba, Y. (2012) Academic Entrepreneurship and Exchange of Scientific Resources: Material Transfer in Life and Materials Sciences in Japanese Universities. American Sociological Review, 77(5), 804-830.
Shibayama, S. (2015) Academic commercialization and changing nature of academic cooperation. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 25(2): 513-532.
Shibayama, S. (2012) Conflict between entrepreneurship and open science, and the transition of scientific norms. Journal of Technology Transfer, 37(4), 508-531.