Announcements

Call for Special Issues

2018-07-09

This is an open call to receive special issues proposals for NOvation: Critical Studies of Innovation (see www.csiic.ca).

We are encouraging contributions that aim to rethink and debunk narratives of innovation in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and Science, Technology and Society (STS). By adopting a counter-hegemonic perspective on the study of innovation in its several dimensions (i.e.: from economics and development to cultural values and social movements, through governance policies and politics), we intend to inspire critical accounts normally disregarded by the mainstream literature on innovation.

Read more about Call for Special Issues

Statement of Aims

 The International Journal Novation – Critical Studies of Innovation is underway, following a slow but steady route to contribute to the rethinking and debunking of innovation narratives in STS (Science, Technology and Society) and STI (Science, Technology, and Innovation). After a first call that was launched last April 2017, together with Godin and Vinck’s recent book (2017) – which is a perfect case of young researchers as contributors – we are preparing the first Issue on “X-innovation: Re-inventing Innovation Again and Again” (with B. Godin, G. Gaglio and S. Pfotenhauer as editors).

Putting together several scholars across at least three continents, NOvation is in itself proof of this urge to open the field of innovation studies as well as other and every disciplinary areas engaged in this discussion, not just internationalizing their practices but make them to contribute to a wider kind of inter and cross-disciplinary problems and interpretations – encouraging co-authorship between discipline or special issues with debates between disciplines is something that new generations have been bold and this Editorial Board is nurturing.

We should, in fact, emphasize that there is now a younger generation of researchers, more open to our view than the mainstream researchers and scholars are, frequently entrenched as the latter are in University chairs or established research institutions, whose agendas tend to be shaped according to policy agendas. Otherwise, there are indeed many scholars who do not recognize themselves in that normative orientation, at the same time being critical of the current system of bibliometric validation and ready to publish in this journal.

There is a need to look critically at studies of innovation presented as the unavoidable path to scholars and experts and get better pictures of innovation than the one this field has been used to. The journal questions the current narratives of innovation and offers a forum to discuss some different interpretations of innovation, not just its virtues but also its implications.

The following topics comprehend this journal scopus of interests and critical approaches:

- Deconstructing theories and models of innovation;

- Deconstructing the discourses proposing, idealizing and selling them;

- Confronting diverse ontologies of policy and development with rational innovation models and other views of officials and development agencies;

-  Not just deconstructing, but also constructing different models and proposing alternative narratives.

In addition, the areas that NOvation calls to collaborate represent not just a niche topic, but an interdisciplinary field with many disciplinary and thematic affiliations – Economics and sociology of innovation, History of Science and Technology, Conceptual history, Intellectual history, Public Policy, Institutional History, etc. –, with a wide scope of methodological possibilities:

  1. Critical analyses: from and on studies of innovation, being those approaches more disciplinary or interdisciplinary in nature;
  2. Discourse analysis: deconstructing actors’ rhetoric, policy-makers’ frameworks and scholars’ theories and argumentation;
  3. Intellectual history: documenting scholars’ theories and trajectories;
  4. Conceptual accounts: studying the concepts used in the field, the traveling of concepts among fields (academic and public) and their transformation into catchwords;
  5. Case studies: helping to understand and mapping the uses of innovation and to rethink current narratives;

One thing that we find most important to not lose sight of is that ‘NOvation’ modus operandi is different than mainstream journals, i.e., not too obsessed with fashionable international credentials, like REF-Research Excellence Framework or other criteria that make rankings and so on – impact factors, etc. Researchers, in fact, are also looking for alternative indicators giving a better account of the diversity of access and appropriation of knowledge than the only citation and impact factors in a mainstream journal. In addition, the current context of (too) much studies of innovation, fighting against the pro-innovation is attractive to many researchers.

The critical study of innovation is important because innovation as a word is everywhere in contemporary societies. Innovation is on the political discourses, on cultural and knowledge debates, as well as in the political economy of nowadays global economics. It is not for the sake of being against, but to make up for the lack of empirical basis that the pro-innovation bias has. We are indeed interested in understand "why innovation is (un) important’ in connection to other categories of human agency contributing to progress”, or putting in other words: understand ‘why, where and when’ innovation could be– or not be–  important to progress and development of human endeavor in different contexts and regions.

Tiago Brandão (Managing Editor)