A churn model of scientific knowledge value: Internet researchers as a knowledge value collective

Barry Bozeman, Juan D. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Determining the value of scientific and technical knowledge poses a great many problems. One of the most acute and widely recognized is that the value of knowledge shifts dramatically over time as new uses for the knowledge emerge. A related problem is that market-based valuation of knowledge is an inadequate index of certain types of scientific knowledge. We present an alternative framework for the value of scientific and technical knowledge, one based not on market pricing of information, but instead, on the intensity and range of uses of scientific knowledge. Our "churn" model of scientific knowledge value emphasizes the distinctive properties of scientific and technical knowledge and focuses on the social context of its production. In particular, we consider the value of scientific and technical knowledge in enhancing "knowledge value collectives", our term for the set of individuals who interact in the demand, production, technical evaluation, and application of scientific and technical, knowledge. To illustrate the use of the churn model as an interpretive framework, we examine the recent history of the Internet and the churning knowledge use and transformation accompanying its emergence. The development of the knowledge brought together in the Internet shows us how little traditional disciplines and institutions help in explaining today ' s epoch-changing knowledge and technology innovations. We urge a focus on the social configurations producing knowledge value. Rather than counting discrete output, we argue that research evaluation is most helpful when its subject is the capacity of social configurations to produce new scientific and technical knowledge uses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-794
Number of pages26
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Churn model
  • Internet innovation
  • Knowledge value
  • Scientific knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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