Prometheus: Vol 33, No 1 (2015)

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Editorial
By Stuart Macdonald page: 1 - 2 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 1 SKU: 0810-90281131911
Paper
By Eugenia Perez Vico One of the key research and policy problems in innovation studies is the development of tools for understanding and measuring the impact of academic research on society. The paper contributes to resolving this problem by providing a typology that helps us to understand and analyse the roles researchers take on in order to make academic knowledge useful. A key finding is that utility creation is context dependent and varies between individual researchers and research groups. Attempts to measure impact ought therefore to allow for diversity with regard to the individual researcher or research group in the context of knowledge creation. page: 3 - 20 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 1 SKU: 0810-90281060699
Paper
By William Kingston The industrial revolution depended upon a system of individual property rights which was unusually capable of forcing self-interest to serve the public good as well. This system led to unprecedented growth of wealth, primarily because it encouraged technological innovation. Over time, however, the laws of property (notably those relating to the corporation and to information protection) were captured by those who could benefit from them. In particular, financiers were released from the disciplines which had applied to them since the invention of money, and this made investment in financial innovation more attractive than technology. During the first part of the industrial revolution, growth in credit meant growth in wealth, but there is now a mass of empirical evidence that this correlation has turned negative. A series of proposals for reversing this trend is offered, specifically changes in corporation law and new means for protection of information. These include measuring grants of privilege by money instead of time, compulsory expert arbitration of disputes, and protection of innovation directly instead of indirectly, which is all that patents purport to offer. It is also argued that public provision of finance for innovation should generally follow a US model (which is described) rather than the practice of the EU, and that funding of university research should be transmitted through firms to a much greater extent than at present. A variant of an earlier Central Policy Review Staff experiment in the UK is suggested as offering some chance of introducing these reforms in the face of politicians’ vulnerability to interest pressures. page: 21 - 41 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 1 SKU: 0810-90281060702
Paper
By Fabien Girard The growing criticism of patentability of native traits and genes (of plants obtained by traditional cross-breeding methods of species with the use of molecular biology methods) prompts questions about the constant erosion of boundaries in the field of non-patentability, which has been denounced by authoritative legal writers. But the issue currently at stake is even more worrisome, insofar as these new patents, the volume of which is constantly increasing, are blocking patents and cannot be expected to be circumvented by resort to cross-licensing agreements. Relying on the position expressly adopted by the European Patent Office (EPO) president in the Tomato II case, this paper brings to light the pro-patent bias that affects the functioning of the European patent system. It shows that this troubling phenomenon is rooted in governance issues. Above all, it stresses a deeper factor, namely the dual ideology of an exchange society and of science and technology (the logic of progress) that has dramatically severed the ties between the EPO and people’s representative bodies, multi-stakeholder bodies and citizens themselves. page: 43 - 65 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 1 SKU: 0810-90281061258
Paper
By Hartmut Hirsch-Kreinsen The innovativeness of low- and medium-technology (LMT) manufacturing firms in advanced economies has been the research focus of a growing body of literature since the beginning of the last decade. This paper reviews the main research findings and highlights the largely unresolved problem in LMT research of the contradiction between the presumed homogeneity of LMT sectors because of the formal category of ‘low R&D intensity’, and the heterogeneity of the same firms in LMT sectors. To overcome this problem, the paper proposes an empirical taxonomy of innovative LMT firms based on the dimension of knowledge. To sketch out this knowledge-oriented taxonomy, the paper uses the concept of the ‘distributed knowledge base’. In this approach, four different patterns of knowledge use in LMT firms can be identified. This conceptual perspective has consequences for understanding the sources and directions of innovation strategies in LMT firms and the perspectives of LMT sectors pertaining in advanced economies, such as the EU. Additionally, specific recommendations on innovation policy can be inferred from these considerations that go beyond the current state of the art. Overall, this paper sums up some of the findings of past low-tech research, and reinterprets its central findings. page: 67 - 82 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 1 SKU: 0810-90281062237
Book Review
By Bert Sadowski page: 83 - 85 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 1 SKU: 0810-90281070083
Book Review
By René Floor page: 86 - 88 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 1 SKU: 0810-90281070084
Book Review
By Jason Potts page: 89 - 92 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 1 SKU: 0810-90281070085
Book Review
By Thomas Docherty page: 92 - 94 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 1 SKU: 0810-90281131909