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Innovation, Complexity and Policy

Contributions from 30 years of innovation policy research in Austria

Edited By Matthias Weber

This book brings together a set of contributions that show the breadth and depth of the scientific work of Josef Fröhlich and his influence on Austrian research, technology and innovation (RTI) policy. It is edited in honour of the occasion of his retirement as Head of Innovation Systems Department at the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology. The contributors provide an overview of important issues of debate at the intersection of innovation studies and government policy, which have been pivotal for the modernisation and consolidation of the Austrian innovation system since the early 1990s.

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Bridging centrality: A new indicator to measure the positioning of actors in complex networks (Thomas Scherngell / Laurent Bergé / Iris Wanzenböck)

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Thomas Scherngell, Laurent Bergé and Iris Wanzenböck

Bridging centrality: A new indicator to measure the positioning of actors in complex networks1

Abstract: In the recent past, we can observe a growing interest in the notion of positioning indicators, shifting emphasis to actors in the innovation process and their R&D inter-linkages with other actors. In relation to this, we suggest a new approach for assessing the positioning of the actors coming from the research on complex networks. We rely on the notion of bridging centrality (BC), based on the concept of bridging paths, i.e. a set of two links connecting three actors across three different aggregate nodes (e.g. organisations, regions or countries). The main argument is that triangulation in complex networks is a key issue for knowledge recombinations and the extension of an actor’s knowledge base. As bridges are most often not empirically observable at the individual level of research teams, we propose an approximated BC measure that provides a flexible framework for dealing with the aggregation problem in positioning actors. Hereby, BC is viewed as a function of an aggregate node’s (i) participation intensity in the network, (ii) openness to other nodes (i.e. the relative outward orientation of network links), and (iii) diversification of links to other nodes. In doing so, we provide an integrative perspective that enables us to achieve a better understanding of the positioning of certain actors in R&D networks. An illustrative example of the co-patent network of...

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