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The concept of entropy in scientometrics and innovation research - an indicator for institutional involvement in scientific and technological development

: Grupp, H.


Scientometrics 18 (1990), Nr.3/4, S.219-239
ISSN: 0138-9130
Fraunhofer ISI ()
entropy; information theory; innovation management; innovation research; institutional incertainty; scientometric; technology policy

The concept of entropy well-known in information theory and thermodynamics is applied in the field of scientometrics and innovation research in order to introduce an indicator for the institutional uncertainty of the location of research and development. By means of this concept four applications in the fields of research and national technology policy, industrial technology management, and innovation research are outlined. First, the national institutional structures in telecommunications research and development in Japan are compared to those of the Netherlands. It is concluded that the level of institutional uncertainty is not always higher in a larger country but rather depends on the disaggregation into fields and subfields. Secondly, broad versus narrow national technology in the so-called 'high technologies' are compared for various OECD and COMECON countries. Thirdly, corporate R and D strategies of Japanese telecommunication companies are studied. Fourthly, for selected R and D-intensive technologies it is shown that with the progress of time it gradually becomes certain for which industrial branches a new technology is essential and for which ones it appears to be marginal. The four analysis are based either on bibliometric or on patent data. The usefullness of the concept of entropy in scientometric sand innovation research is assessed through these examples.