Knowledge Flow Channels Between University and Industry: Scientometrics and Review Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor, Islamic World Science & Technology Monitoring and Citation Institute (ISC), Shiraz, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Knowledge and Information Science, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran


Purpose: The application of knowledge generated in universities is crucial for its dissemination outside of academic environments, particularly in industrial settings. Lack of familiarity with these channels and their features can lead to failure in achieving the ultimate goal of this communication. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to investigate the channels of knowledge flow between universities and industries.
Method: This study employs a scientometric approach, utilizing co-word analysis and narrative review techniques. Using the narrative review approach, we conducted searches in the most important international databases, which served as the theoretical framework for this study. In the second stage of this research, a scientometric approach was employed to uncover the connections, key words, and the scientific map formed by the relationships between words. The
co-word technique was utilized for this purpose. In this way, the query "(university AND industry AND (channel OR transfer OR spillovers OR flow OR dissemination))" was searched in the Topic field of the Web of Science database, which is known as one of the most reliable citation databases. The time span was from 1975 to November 27, 2022, and the search was performed in the Web of Science Core Collection, including the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED) from 1980 to the present, the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) from 1980 to the present, the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI) from 1975 to the present, the Conference Proceedings Citation Index - Science (CPCI-S) from 1990 to the present, the Conference Proceedings Citation Index - Social Science & Humanities (CPCI-SSH) from 1990 to the present, the Book Citation Index - Science (BKCI-S) from 2005 to the present, the Book Citation Index - Social Sciences & Humanities (BKCI-SSH) from 2005 to the present, and the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) from 2005 to the present. A total of 5178 documents were retrieved using this search strategy. To create a co-word map, the VOSviewer software was utilized. In order to generate an analyzable map, a threshold of at least 50 occurrences was applied, resulting in 86 words being entered for the analysis and creation of a co-occurrence map.
Findings: Examining the flow of knowledge channels between universities and industries revealed that these channels may be formal, informal, or a combination of both. Also, the exchange of knowledge between the industry and the university can be intentional or incidental. This knowledge can be explicit or tacit. On the other hand, in channels for transferring knowledge, considerations such as commercialization, cost-benefit analysis, and financial return have also been taken into account. Furthermore, these channels and the transfer of knowledge between universities and industries are considered a form of social capital. Examining the relationship between industry and university from a scientometric perspective, and based on the co-occurrence map of words, it is evident that topics such as the performance and impact of cooperation, knowledge transfer, triple helix, industry, technology transfer, knowledge, entrepreneurship, and research and development are the most important concepts extracted. The scientific map and the formed clusters illustrate the significance of knowledge flow channels between industry and university researchers, highlighting the importance of cooperation in knowledge transfer. In total, four topic clusters have been identified in the co-word map.
Conclusion: The channels between universities and industry have been the focus of various research studies, and the formation of thematic clusters further underscores this significance. The diversity among the channels indicates that a thorough analysis of the knowledge flow between the university and the industry requires the use of multiple indicators.


Main Subjects

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