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Education, Science and Knowledge Capitalism

Creativity and the Promise of Openness


Michael A. Peters

We live in the age of global science – but not, primarily, in the sense of ‘universal knowledge’ that has characterized the liberal metanarrative of ‘free’ science and the ‘free society’ since its early development in the Enlightenment. Today, an economic logic links science to national economic policy, while globalized multinational science dominates an environment where quality assurance replaces truth as the new regulative ideal. This book examines the nature of educational and science-based capitalism in its cybernetic, knowledge, algorithmic and bioinformational forms before turning to the emergence of the global science system and the promise of openness in the growth of international research collaboration, the development of the global knowledge commons and the rise of the open science economy. Education, Science and Knowledge Capitalism explores the nature of cognitive capitalism, the emerging mode of social production for public education and science and its promise for the democratization of knowledge.
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Introduction: Global Science and Knowledge Capitalism


The emerging political economy of global science is a significant factor influencing development of national systems of innovation, and economic, social and cultural development, with the rise of multinational actors and a new mix of corporate, private/public and community involvement.1 It is only since the 1960s with the development of research evaluation and increasing sophistication of bibliometrics and webometrics that it has been possible to map the emerging economy of global science, at least on a comparative national and continental basis.2 The question of the political economy of world science and its geographic distribution cannot be easily separated from its measurement and evaluation or the pattern of journal ownership.

Increasingly, emphasis has fallen on the economics and productivity of science in both firms and higher education institutions, as policymakers and politicians seek to foster innovation and to draw strong links between scientific performance and emerging economic structures (Crespi & Geuna, 2004, 2005). In these science policy discussions the accent often falls on measuring scientific productivity, on ‘intellectual property’ and the codification of knowledge, and on research collaboration, partnership and cooperation in regional, national and international contexts. Investment in science, engineering and technology has received strong attention from governments as the basis of the ‘knowledge economy’ and most governments now look to their international science policy strategy to emphasize national competitive advantage and to encourage research collaboration in global science projects.

Indeed, it is the age of global science, but not primarily in the sense of ‘universal...

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