August 17, 2010

Research Policy, Vol. 1, No. 1

From pp. 1-2 of Volume 1, Number 1 in 1971:

research policy

This new journal will deal both with the problems of research and development policy in industry and with the research policy aspects of governmental science policy.

Whereas research management has received considerable attention in the literature during the past decades, research policy has received much less attention, yet in industrial research nowadays the main problem is not how to manage research, but how to determine its appropriate volume and scope, how to bring it in line with the long-term planning of the company and how to integrate it with other operations,

Increasing social concern with the short and long-term consequences of scientific research and technical innovation has led to a growing need to relate the private decisions of the individual researcher, laboratory or firm to a wider social context in which the full social costs and benefits of an innovation may find expression. This embraces both R & D project and programme evaluation and decision-making in industry, as well as in government and universities.

The social cost/benefit evaluation of research and innovation is one of the most complex problems confronting policy-makers, and several of the papers in this first issue deal with this problem, which will continue to be one of th.e main themes of the Journal.

In government research policy, perhaps the key question is how to determine priorities. A paper by one of the Editors in this first issue is intended to initiate critical debate on this fundamental question.

The experiences of innovating organisations in attempting, planning and implementing various innovations, whether complex or simple, are relatively little known or studied. The literature which deals with these questions and other problems of research and development policy is relatively unstructured and scattered in the journals of many different disciplines. RESEARCH POLICY will attempt to provide a focus for this literature and the policy debate it evokes.

The journal will publish papers relating to industrial R & D, particularly case-studies of innovations and analysis of R & D policy in firms. It is hoped that these will be contributed both by active participants in industrial R & D and its management, and academic observers of the process. One such paper is included in this first issue and we shall feature these studies regularly.

Concerning government policy for research, the journal is intending to include papers both by those involved in “science policy” decisions of various kinds, and by independent analysts and critics. The journal will concentrate on European problems including international European R & D experience. It will deal with methods of choice evaluation and programming as well as the measurement of public preferences and the formal theory of decision-making.

The issues confronting policy-makers, whether in government, industry or universities, involve questions of value as well as questions of fact and theory. Critical debate and clash of opinion on policy is both inevitable and desirable, and the Journal will provide a forum for such debate. However, in order that this may be fruitful, such controversy must be well-informed and based on understanding of the circumstances, needs and interests of the participants. For this reason the Editors are glad to publish the note by Professor Casimir on “Industry and Universities” and welcome further papers and comments on the respective role of industry, government and universities in research and innovation.

The Editors

C. Freeman and T.C. Sinclair,
Science Policy Research Unit,
University of Sussex,
Great Britain

H. Krauch and R. Coenen,
Studiengruppe für Systemforschung,

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