The New Communication Regime of University‑Industry‑Government Relations


Loet Leydesdorff

Department of Science and Technology Dynamics,

Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV  Amsterdam, The Netherlands

e-mail: <>



Rearrangements in institutional relations among universities, industrial research, and government laboratories are a consequence of changes in the communication structures of relevant scientific communities.  Recently, Gibbons et al. (1994) have proposed distinguishing between disciplinary sciences with a traditional communication structure (Mode 1) and `network sciences' (e.g., biotechnology, artificial intelligence) at the interfaces (Mode 2).  These authors, however, have not yet developed categories for analyzing scientific knowledge production in Mode 2 from an evolutionary perspective, although they noted that the concept of `reputation' at the interface should be specified differently from reputation within a scientific community (cf. Whitley, 1984).


Scientific knowledge production in Mode 2 requires a further integration of political, economic, and scientific orientations in research practices.  At the level of a single system, however, integration implies de-differentiation, and would therefore be unlikely to evolve.  This potential paradox between differentiation and integration can be understood by using concepts of second-order cybernetics.


I shall argue that systems of translations at the network level contain a translative or triadic episteme in addition to functionally differentiated or `dialectic' systems of communication.  This trans-episteme can be elaborated from an evolutionary perspective: the translations entrain innovative dynamics between codifications.  The implications of this model for the further development of social theory are specified with reference to the sciences, the economy, and the political subsystem, respectively.


1.         Cultural Evolution and Historical Reconstruction


Sociologists and economists have been fascinated with the transition from the mediaeval high culture to the modern social system.  What happened to the social system in evolutionary terms?  How might this transition be explained?  Marx, for example, discussed the advent of modernity in terms of changing class relations; Weber emphasized the function of Protestant values in the emerging social relations of modern capitalism.  In science studies, the latter thesis was elaborated by Merton (1937) when discussing the social origins of the scientific revolution in 17th century England, while, for example, Zilsel (1942/1976) analyzed the emergence of the modern sciences in terms of the development of new scientific practices and rearrangements in the division of labour (cf. Shapin and Shaffer 1985).  Others have pointed to tensions internal to the mediaeval system like the struggle over investiture (Luhmann, e.g., 1989: 262 ff.) or the revolution in communication brought about by the art of printing (Eisenstein, 1979; Kaufer & Carley, 1993).


All these different explanations assume that a transition at the system level should be analyzed in terms of ex ante causes.  From an evolutionary perspective, however, the emerging new order is dependent on the specificity of the ex post selection.  Selection optimizes in terms of functions, independently of underlying structural arrangements.  Thus, the variations leading to a transition are less important for an understanding of the dynamics of a system than the selection mechanisms which emerge (cf. Rosenberg, 1994).


While the variation is initially only a perturbation, different sources of variation can reinforce each other.  For stochastic reasons, the relevant distributions can become skewed, and then exhibit structural properties (cf. Arthur, 1988).  If repeated over time, the emerging structure may begin to feedback on the `relevant' variation.  Thus, an emerging system self-organizes by selecting upon selections.


Selection is recursive: some selections can be selected for (provisional) stabilization; some stabilizations can be selected for globalization.  A local stabilization can develop over time into a identifiable trajectory; a global regime is expected to guide the further developments of local trajectories by providing another layer of selections. 


In summary: different structural dynamics can sometimes fulfill the same functions, and different contexts may in other cases lead to a number of niches as provisional stabilizations of a possible next-order structure.  Functional differentiation can be defined only with reference to this emerging next-order system.  The focus on selection mechanisms, however, generates an analytical problem: one observes the variation.  The selecting instances have reflexively to be specified as hypotheses, i.e. on the basis of theorizing about the emerging systems.



1.1       The Triple Helix


The Triple Helix model takes the traditional forms of institutional differentiation among universities, industries, and government as its starting point.  The evolutionary perspective adds to this historical configuration the notion that human carriers are able to reshape these institutions reflexively (Tong, 1996).  The model thus takes account of the expanding role of the knowledge sector in relation to the political and economic infrastructure of the larger society. 


From an evolutionary perspective, the institutions can be considered as the fingerprints of the communication patterns that have been functional for the reproduction of the system hitherto.  The functionality of differentiation, however, leads its longer term institutionalization.  Thus, one can distinguish between institutional differentiation and functional differentiation in communications within and among these institutions.


Historically, the systematic interaction between markets and sciences can be traced back to the `scientific-technical revolution' in the second half of the 19th century (Braverman, 1974; Noble, 1977).  Institutional differentiation between the nation state and the economy, however, preceded this period.  In other words, the Triple Helix can be considered as a result of an interaction between functional and institutional dynamics in society. 


For the analytical understanding of the Triple Helix model, one should first cross-table these two relevant dimensions: the functional differentiation and integration between sciences and markets, and the institutional difference between private and public control.  Over time this cross-tabulation leads to a model of technological developments in terms of university-industry-government relations. 


What is communicated in these relations?  Three dynamics have been distinguished in the relevant literature: the economic exchange on the markets, the internal dynamics of knowledge production and innovation-that tends to upset the movement towards equilibrium-and institutional governance of the interface at different levels (i.e., public and private).  Evolutionary economics has analyzed this complex system from the perspective of the firm and in terms of the latter's selections upon the co-evolution between technologies and institutions (Nelson & Winter, 1982; Nelson, 1994).  The distribution of reflexive agents, however, adds a third helix to the specifically stabilized trajectories.  A Triple Helix is by its nature unstable, and thus this model enables us to study the various species of chaotic behaviour that have been described in evolutionary economics (cf. Andersen 1994; Leydesdorff & Van den Besselaar 1994).


The analysis of the infrastructure of knowledge in terms of ranges of possibilities has become urgent in the light of proposals for reindustrialization at the level of governmental and inter-governmental organizations (e.g., OECD, 1980).  Since the late 1970s, national coordination between industrial policies and science & technology policies has taken hold in western countries that had earlier achieved the highest degree of separation between institutional spheres (Porter, 1990; Nelson, 1993).  Typically these policies involve the development of closer connections between the state and industry, and academia and industry.  One implication of the Triple Helix model is the analysis of the institutional binding forces among different, yet interacting dynamics.  How do the institutional interactions recursively change the differences in the communications that are also reproduced?



1.2       Layers of Selectivity


Institutional differentiation became possible when the order of modernity was fully established during the 18th century.  Functional differentiation was constructed in Europe on the basis of a century of (primarily religious) wars between 1550 and 1650.  The episteme of the modern sciences (Foucault, 1972), for example, can be distinguished from those of pre-modern times in terms of the functional differentiation and the universalistic orientation of communications.  Note that functional differentiation requires two levels of communication: scientific communication, for example, has both a substantive value in itself and a function for the emerging higher-order system of `universal' theorizing.  In principle, substantive novelty (the `context of discovery') and methodological warrant (the `context of justification') can then be distinguished analytically.


The adjustment of underlying structures to functions under selection pressure can be considered as a process of adaptation.  Adaptation is a gradual process taking place through selection from among possible formations, and therefore institutional codification can be expected to lag behind processes of functional differentiation of communication. 


During the 18th century-perhaps with the exception of the United Kingdom-national state formation had lagged: the organization of society remained in some places entrenched in the mediaeval differentiation of nobility (France, Austria, Spain, and Italy), while in other places regional differences opposed centralization into a nation state (Germany, The Netherlands).  At the end of this century, however, the American and French revolutions established two nation states which were based on the semantics of an institutional differentiation between civic society (`the pursuit of happiness') and the national state (cf. Montesquieu, 1748).  Although Napoleon tried to export the new ideas about political codification as `universal,' development during the period 1815-1870 (German unification) can be characterized with hindsight as the social elaboration of this differentiation between civic society and the various national states (e.g., Gouldner, 1976).


The institutional development went side by side with the transition from mercantile capitalism (universally oriented) into industrial capitalism (locally organized).  Marx noted this transition on the occasion of the revolutions of 1848.  When he published Capital I in 1867, the new system was nearing completion.  After the American Civil War (1865), the Japanese revolution of 1868, the Commune de Paris (1870), and the subsequent German unification, the major nation systems were in place with their respective capitalist economies.


Thus, a dually differentiated system was established: the nation states contain institutional mechanisms which in principle are able to reinforce specific selections from the functional differentiations, for example by maintaining national boundaries.  While in the functionally differentiated system, the control mechanism is firmly based in the episteme-eventually warranted by transcendental convictions-the complex system may periodically shift control to institutionally warranted structural elements (e.g., the bureaucracy).  Control then tends to become `trans-epistemic' (Knorr 1982).  The system can also alternate between phases of contraction and expansive modernization (cf. Freeman & Perez, 1988).


The two dynamics can be combined in different ways.  With hindsight, marxism can be considered as an ideology that tends to take `the real existing human needs' as its system of reference, and therefore emphasizes the institutional realization of power in society.  From a liberal perspective, `power' and state organization are considered as codified embodiments of a system of checks and balances with the aim of promoting the further (`free') development of the subsystems defined in terms of functions (economy, science, etc.).


When the organization of society has become so complex that two mechanisms are available for the integration, one should expect the possibility of a range of possible interactions.  At specific sites the two selections may begin to reinforce each other, as in a resonance.  (At most places two selections are expected to extinguish the signal.)  Such `lock-ins' (Arthur, 1988) occur locally and discretely, and if stabilized, the resulting patterns are expected to follow relatively independent trajectories.  In other words, selections can be selected at some places for stabilization.  In a next selection, a distribution of provisional stabilizations can be selected for `globalization,' and then a regime will be developed (Leydesdorff, 1994).


In summary, the codification of two selection mechanisms at the level of society makes it likely that a pattern of local interferences will emerge in a co-evolution between these codifications.  The resulting patterns of communication can be considered as locally distributed `lock-ins' or niches.  This distribution, however, contains the expectation of a next-order regime at the global level.  The theoretical question remains whether one is able to specify this (co‑)evolution, and then to articulate an expectation concerning the further development of the system.





2.1       The Institutionalization of Translations


The so-called `scientific-technical revolution' took place at the institutionally organized interface between two functionally codified systems, i.e. science and the economy.  The new institutions (e.g. corporate laboratories) provided the basis for an interaction between the codifications.  Eventually, this development has led to the emergence of corporate capitalism with its typical industrial R&D facilities and `technostructure' (Galbraith, 1967).


Sustained interaction is expected to change the codifications mutually.  With reference to this `scientific-technical revolution,' Braverman (1974: 167f.) noted indeed that `the key innovation is not to be found in chemistry, electronics, automatic machinery, aeronautics, atomic physics, or any of the products of these science-technologies, but rather in the transformation of science itself into capital.'  Conversely, the absorption of science by capital has also transformed the latter: the productive forces are no longer necessarily linked to the managerial decisions and instrumental action of concrete people engaged in a labour process (Habermas, 1968).  Economic selections can be discussed in terms of representations (e.g., utility functions); scientific and technical selections can no longer be considered as exogenous to this economic system (Schumpeter 1939; Nelson & Winter 1982).


Thus, the two functions can provide each other with resources and feedback on the basis of their organization within an institutional framework.  The institutional organization between the two functional codifications allows for a helix of translations which can be carried out at local interfaces (Latour, 1987).  In a system of translations, scientific communications are no longer selected only in terms of their `truth'-value as their intrinsic codification, but also in terms of their utility as another (no longer extrinsic) codification.  Analogously, a production system can be changed against (short-term) market pressures when innovations are selected from a perspective of technological potentials.



2.2       Translation Systems


In translation systems, the selecting instances may flip-flop between codes of meaning which co-evolve while selecting upon each other.  These systems are no longer discursive systems that follow a single logic, but next-order translations that recursively entrain the various logics which go into them as their `genotypes.'  The epistemological and social consequences of such a transition are almost beyond imagination.  While the previous episteme was based on the geometrical metaphor of an internally consistent panopticum, the new one is based on a multitude of perspectives.  Therefore, it requires algorithmic modelling and dynamic representations (e.g., animations and video-clips).  The future possibilities of a system of translations extend beyond the possibilities that can be imagined at any given moment, since phase transitions and other forms of chaotic behaviour are expected in the dynamics of networks (Kaufmann, 1993; Langford et al., forthcoming).


Systems of translation are intuitively familiar from problems of interpretation when using foreign languages.  The same word may have different meanings in different languages; various translations are sometimes possible.  A system of translations can be understood as a system in which the interpreters continuously communicate among themselves about the possible translations.  Interpreters among natural language users may try to settle their disputes by appealing to codifications like dictionaries, but in a system of translations the dispute between different perspectives is institutionalized.


If the translators had completely different backgrounds in terms of languages, their communication would vanish as in the case of the Tower of Babel.  But since commu­nication is noisy and selective, the institu­tionalization of a translation system can lead to highly specific second-order com­munications.  This emerging trans-episteme will in turn reinforce the mutual under­standing, and thus the self-under­standing at lower levels of interaction.  Thus, the trans-episteme enables the carrying agents to specify reflexively what may function as a signal at a next-higher level, and what will be discarded as noise.


Figure 1

Differentiation (ij/ik) and inte­gration (i) of communication

Figure 2

Differentiation (ij) and transla­tion (ijk) of communication


Let me illus­trate the dif­ference be­tween com­munication and trans­la­tion systems using two pic­tur­es.  In Figure 1, three cycles are depicted which have a com­mon intersection.  The circles repre­sent the different spheres of communication (with respec­tive codi­fications) that are possible in a pluri­form society.  In terms of commu­ni­cation processes, one may think of the intersection as the common lan­guage (i), for ex­ample the ver­nacular, in which all special­ist jar­gons (ij and ik) can be trans­lated if suffi­ciently elabo­rated.  As noted, the epi­steme of such a society assumes the possi­bility of rein­te­gration as its firm base.


In Figure 2 dif­ferenti­ation has pro­ceeded to such an extent that, first, the common zone of inter­pene­tration has disap­pear­ed.  Sec­ond, the inte­gra­t­ing system is depicted as a hyper-cycle which can be generated by a se­ries of selec­tions which the various com­munication systems employ in re­la­tion to each other.  However, the hy­per-cyclic communication is not expected to exist at any single mo­ment.  It is an emerg­ing system, and indeed in this case integration requires more complex­ity than differen­tia­tion.  The system is integrat­ed over time; at each moment in time only a distribution of communi­cations can be observed.  The integrat­ing instance can no longer be observed since the selections can occur in differ­ent directions, and thus vari­ous cycles may co-exist.  Each sys­tem can perceive itself as the integrating instance, since the criteria for integra­tion are differ­ent among systems, and the time horizons may be different as well.  Inte­gration over time always implies a trans­lation at a re­ceiving end as the system of reference.


In a communica­tion system under the pre­vious epi­steme each human being is uni­vers­al­istically assumed to be able to par­tici­pate in the communi­cation (on the basis of, for example, suf­fi­cient training).  But this as­sump­tion has to be suspend­ed when discuss­ing translation systems.  The translation system is based on a reflexive selec­tion among communications on the basis of functional­ity to the translation.  The subdynam­ics (e.g., languages) are repro­duced as distribu­tions at the supra-individual level.  The carriers of the original commu­nications are represented in systems of translation only in terms of the quality of their com­munica­tion among other commu­nications.  In other words, translation operates on repre­senta­tions.


A translation system can be considered as a network system that `lives' and reproduces itself on an arrangement of underlying communication structures like a parasite that is able to survive in a specific niche.  If it survives, it will be able to establish its own `population' dynamics.  In general, each next-order system tends to stand in orthogonal relation to the previous levels, although it was originally constructed on the basis of interactions among the constructing sys­tems (Simon, 1973a).  Therefore, the analytical categories have to be respecified with reference to the emerging system.





3.1       Emergence and Drifts of Trans-Epistemes


Translation systems are not selective with respect to inten­tional actors but only with their communications.  Communi­cation systems may have to provide the carrying communi­cators with reasons, while translation systems are able to select among the various communications for functional reasons.  Additionally, the hyper-cycle enables translation systems to select communications from a hindsight perspec­tive.  Thus, the translation system contains an additional degree of freedom when compared with a communication system: Translation systems are expected to handle more specificity and complexity in the communication than communication systems.  Accordingly, a higher-order trans-episteme will develop: not the human intentions, but the unintended consequences of interactions increasingly shape this system.


Although it is presently perhaps only emergent, for example in cases of `high tech' or `big science', the higher-order communication can be expected to assume control upon its establishment, for evolutionary reasons.  The emerging trans-episteme is expected to transform the epistemes in the communication systems on which it rests.  In addition to the communication of substantive novelty and methodologi­cally warranted codification (with reference to `truth'), high-tech sciences are able to translate representations from other subsystems of society into scientific knowledge, and vice versa, to legitimate research results in `trans-epistemic' cycles of communication (Knorr, 1982).  In other words, one is institu­tionally warranted to change the code of the communication with hindsight if that is appropriate for solving the puzzle under study. 


Initially, these changes of codes can be supported by divisions of labour in the relevant `technostructures.'  The crucial step, however, is the establishment of competencies of communication among the communicators that make it possible for the subjects involved to internalize the anticipa­tion of subsequent selections on each other's communica­tions.  Thus, the subjects are sorted in terms of competencies for specific communications (Tobias et al., 1995; cf. Habermas, 1981).


As noted, the initial `lock-ins' occurred locally; therefore their pattern was socially distributed.  If these processes can additionally be stabilized into co-evolutions, the resulting patterns are expected to drive the system into higher-order complexities of communication (Maturana, 1978; Nelson, 1994).  The emerging trans-episteme is based on interactions of the older differentiation between sciences and markets with the institutionally organized differentiation between the political economy and the post-Napoleonic state.  From this perspective, the history of science and technology in the twentieth century can be considered in terms of an exploration of the potentials for recombining the various subdynamics into a Triple Helix system.


Functional differentiation and translative integration are mutually contingent upon each other, but the operation is different.  As noted, functional differentiation requires the codification of the communication, and, therefore, the distinction between substance and meaning of the information (cf. Leydesdorff, 1995).  The high-tech sciences require hyper-cycles of communication in at least three dimensions.  `Triadic' communication systems (ijk) are able to encompass the functionally differentiated ones, and to translate them asymmetrically into each other (ij 6 ik).  Thus, they are able to change the code internally, and by evolutionarily alternating between codes they seem to reconcile what was irreconcilable from the perspective of the previous episteme.  The solution of problems (`puzzles') has heuristic value for the further development of the discipline; truth (i.e., the value of the communication) has become a dynamic function within the network of scientific communications.  In other words, truth can be considered as a discipline-specific meta-heuristic (Simon, 1973b).  Thus, economic or political success is made to feedback on the strength of one `truth' against another (cf. Latour, 1987).


The emerging patterns are not expected to replace the older models, but to incorporate them and to guide their future development.  The next-order regime entrains the trajectories on which it builds, and transforms them into subdynamics of the more complex system (Kampmann et al., 1994).



3.2       Socio-economic Consequences


The transformation is expected to induce a further differentiation in the socio-economic dimension as well.  Indeed, scientific-technological innovations generate product competition in addition to price competition.  Product competition introduces dynamics into the economic system over a time horizon which can no longer be reduced to Pareto optimalization at each moment in time, as soon as the economic actors (corporations, states) can strategically counter-act on the price mechanisms (Schumpeter, 1939).  Galbraith (1967: 178n.) noted that price maximalization and growth maximalization introduce different selection criteria over time.


What does this differentiation of the economic mechanism mean in substantive terms?  Product life cycles are generated by innovations which upset the movement towards equilibrium.  Different phases of the life cycle lead to different relations to customers, and thus to market segmentation.  Market segments can be considered as niches which can be functional for technological innovation (`incubators') or dysfunctional in terms of constructing entrance barriers (`lock-ins').  Since all these processes occur at the same time, complex evolutionary dynamics are generated within the economic system (Leydesdorff & Van den Besselaar, 1994).


Highly diversified and multinational corporations are sometimes able to take advantage of these dynamics of scale and scope.  Thus, monopolistic tendencies have become endogenous to the economy (Schumpeter, 1939).  However, in a knowledge-based regime the `movement towards equilibrium' can be structurally upset: the economic perspective `genotypically' specifies one among different subdynamics of the system.  Other subdynamics, like the replacement of input-factors by technological innovations and the institutional mechanisms of normative appropriation and control can steer the system just as intensively as the economic mechanism.  There are no reasons for giving a priority to one codification above another, except in terms of its functionality to the emerging system.  This functionality is not a given, but is constructed in a series of translations among ranges of expectations.


Thus, technology studies itself has become an interdisciplinary field of studies.  Understanding product competition requires in-depth study of the history of the major agents in a field, of their social-economic contexts, and of the longer-term strategies and policies of organizational actors and their network relations.  Each study provides us with heuristics which one should combine with systematic knowledge about relevant markets in order to construct a complex evolutionary model.  The heuristics specify the selections that have proven viable in the midst of a phase space of possible combinations.



3.3       Policy Implications


A major implication of the transition from functional differentiation of communication to translation systems is that political discourse has obtained a subsystemic character.  Political interventions disturb the other subsystems through operational coupling at the hyper-cyclic level, i.e. with `unintended consequences.'  As with the other subsystems, this change in the status of government is based on an internal differentiation of the political communication.  The consequences of this transition, however, have not yet been sufficiently reflected.


The introduction of a further differentiation of policy making in terms of functionality, (in addition to normative, i.e. hierarchical, control based on codification,) is perhaps the most difficult one to accommodate because of moral and constitutional blockages in political discourse.  Political discourse already operates on representations, but integration is achieved by human representatives.  What does it mean for the political system that integration is achieved in terms of discursive representations that operate relatively independent from the carrying agents?


While norms can be codified at the generalized level, functional policies are specific, and they should take into account an evaluation of their systems of reference in order to be effective.  For example, what may be functional in the case of `biotechnology' might not be functional in the case of `advanced materials', and what may be functional for the further development of University A might be dysfunctional for University B.


Is one justified in further differentiating in the discourse, and then making trade-offs?  In my opinion, the label `liberal neo-corporatism' underestimates the kind of political strategies which should be elaborated, by suggesting a reticent or orchestrating role for the state.  The translative intervention, however, is specific at the network-level (Mode 2), but this specification has to be legitimated with reference to its functions for the relevant systems (in Mode 1).  Without this elaboration of the political discourse into different frames of reference and time horizons (like in a cycle of strategic and operational planning) the knowledge-based system may be weakened in its competition at the global level.


Thus, policies should be based on assessments which are reflexively balanced against normative premises within the policy system.  When two selections can operate upon each other, the translation may self-organize ways which enable the specification of institutional arrangements in which public money and authority can be used to strengthen the integration among subsystems.  The word nexus has been used for the result of such a constructive technology assessment (Van den Belt & Rip, 1987).


As noted above, selection selects for function, not for structure.  If the function can be stabilized (for example, in terms of a nexus), the feedback is expected to grow in importance, and the underlying structures are expected to adapt (`survival of the fittest').  Consequently, reflexive `monitoring' is most functional for translative policies.  The results of these `monitors' inform the political decision process about options, but paradoxically their primary function is the further development of the political discourse into an internally differentiated system of translations that is able to sutain the rather unintended outcome of an innovative nexus.


In general, a translation has different functions for the various interacting (sub-)systems.  Translations are asymmetrical: the systems interact, but thereupon each of the interacting systems is reproduced in its own terms.  Reflexive translation systems are able to learn from their interactions because the translated system is represented within the translating system so that the latter can act on the former selectively.  Thus, translation systems are able to strengthen their internal dynamics in the complex environment of other translation systems.


The price of such policies seems to be replacing the idea of normative control with a reflexive focus on `unintended outcomes.'  The system of reference for the attribution, however, is different: while in a functionally codified system politicians are held responsible for their actions, a system of translations is no longer able to carry political responsibility for crucial decisions.  For example, the European Commission can hardly be held responsible for Europe's monetary unification.  The translation system is not accountable for its history since it is no longer rooted in `real people,' but in communications among them.  It selects from actions which can be attributed to others.



4          The Further Development of the Triple Helix


How has society been differentiated and integrated in modern and post-modern capitalism, and how can one envisage room for new recombinations of these different dynamics?  I have argued that three major distinctions are required for a parsimonious description, namely: (i) the functional differentiation and corresponding codification in the communication constructed mainly in the 17th and 18th centuries, (ii) institutional differentiation between the economy and the nation states (constructed mainly in the first half of the 19th century); and (iii) the distributed integration of patterns of functional and institutional differentiation since the scientific-technical revolution of the period 1870-1890.


The emerging trans-episteme of the triple helix transforms the sciences into disciplinarily specific heuristics which contain their older (disciplinary) functions as meta-heuristics.  Algorithmic puzzle solving and invention based on analytical recombinations among different domains have become cornerstones of scientific-technological developments.  Analogously, the transition tends to transform the economy into a complex mixture of price and product competition that exhibit non-linear dynamics.  Policy making is challenged to distinguish internally between a state apparatus which is functional for the development of the triple helix, and normative control.  Strategic and operational considerations can be related, for example in planning cycles.


These transitions towards an `information society' in which each subsystem contains sufficient complexity to internally translate representations of itself, are currently tendencies, and far from completed.  From an evolutionary perspective, a more complex system however is expected to entrain its previous carriers as its instantiations, but reflexively.  Various forms are explored, and some are eventually selected.  The translation systems can develop at high speeds since the Triple Helix is no longer `rooted' in human beings, but in interactive and reflexive discourses.  The recursivity of the selections can be computer supported so that the results can be valuable even if counter-intuitive to the `natural' systems carrying to the system (cf. Leydesdorff, 1994).


An `artificial evolution' is expected to transform the economy at an increasing pace, since it can deal with more complexity than its predecessors (Andersen, 1994).  As noted, the emergence of `big science' during the 20th century can be considered as the historical acculturation of the new trans-episteme of science-technology-economy.  The reflexive organization of its institutional patterns in new forms of S&T policies was apparently delayed until the oil crises of 1970s, when the post-war system entered into a series of crises at the level of the global economy.  The gradual emergence of stable patterns of scientific reproduction in fields like `artificial intelligence', `biotechnology', and `advanced materials' in the 1980s indicates the viability of the triadic model of communication (Van den Besselaar & Leydesdorff, 1993 and 1996; Ahrweiler, 1995; Leydesdorff & Gauthier, 1996).  In my opinion, the global system is heavily experimenting with various formats for the institutionalization of knowledge based translations.




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