Exploring the scope of open innovation: a bibliometric review of a decade of research

Adrián Kovács, Bart van Looy, Bruno Cassiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


The concept of open innovation has attracted considerable attention since Henry Chesbrough first coined it to capture the increasing reliance of firms on external sources of innovation. Although open innovation has flourished as a topic within innovation management research, it has also triggered debates about the coherence of the research endeavors pursued under this umbrella, including its theoretical foundations. In this paper, we aim to contribute to these debates through a bibliometric review of the first decade of open innovation research. We combine two techniques—bibliographic coupling and co-citation analysis—to (1) visualize the network of publications that explicitly use the label ‘open innovation’ and (2) to arrive at distinct clusters of thematically related publications. Our findings illustrate that open innovation research builds principally on four related streams of prior research, whilst the bibliographic network of open innovation research reveals that seven thematic clusters have been pursued persistently. While such persistence is undoubtedly useful to arrive at in-depth and robust insights, the observed patterns also signal the absence of new, emerging, themes. As such, ‘open innovation’ might benefit from applying its own ideas: sourcing concepts and models from a broader range of theoretical perspectives as well as pursuing a broader range of topics might introduce dynamics resulting in more impact and proliferation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-983
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2015


  • IR-96308
  • METIS-310894


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