Journal of Scientometric Research, 2017, 6, 1, 62-64.
Published: May 2017
Type: Book Review
Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
The processes of scientific knowledge production and technological invention are of crucial interest to the discipline of Science, Technology and Society studies (STS). In the book, “Cycles of Invention and Discovery: Rethinking the Endless Frontier”, the authors have challenged the popular understanding of the processes of scientific and technological knowledge production and innovation. Science and technology are social institutions, affected as much by societal forces as they affect society. One such social, indeed political, factor upon which the central argument of this book is based is the utilization of categories employed in the classification of research activities for the purpose of state funding of research. The authors explain the need to recognize the futility of and the difficulties arising from the dichotomy that results from this categorization causing hindrance to the actual process of scientific and technological research. This dichotomy, the authors discuss, is embodied in the usage of the terms, ‘basic’ and ‘applied’ that have come to demarcate strictly the boundaries between fundamental and application-oriented research. The book analyzes the serious limitations of the language used in Science and Technology (S&T) policy-making in the United States of America characterized by static ideas and unchanging definitions of the terms ‘basic’, ‘applied’, ‘pure’, ‘science’ and ‘engineering’ (p. 17). The authors argue that this language has resulted in patterns of allocation and distribution of federal funds that pose significant challenges to the practice of science and engineering in the US. Read more . . .