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Open innovation in small and medium enterprises: a bibliometric analysis

Ignacio Odriozola-Fernández (Department of Economy and Business Organization, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain)
Jasmina Berbegal-Mirabent (Department of Economy and Business Organization, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain)
José M. Merigó-Lindahl (Department of Management Control and Information Systems, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 18 June 2019




The open innovation (OI) paradigm suggests that firms should use inflows and outflows of knowledge in order to accelerate innovation and leverage markets. Literature examining how firms are adopting OI practices is rich; notwithstanding, little research has addressed this topic from the perspective of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Given the relevance of SMEs in worldwide economies, the purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive overview of research on OI in SMEs.


In total, 112 academic articles were selected from the Web of Science database. Following a bibliometric analysis, the most relevant authors, journals, institutions and countries are presented. Additionally, the main areas these articles cover are summarized.


Results are consistent in that the most prolific authors are affiliated with the universities leading the ranking of institutions. However, it is remarkable that top authors in this field do not possess a large number of publications on OI in SMEs, but combine this research topic with other related ones. At the country level, European countries are on the top together with South Korea.

Research limitations/implications

Despite following a rigorous method, other relevant documents not included in the selected databases might have been ignored.

Practical implications

This paper outlines the main topics of interest within this area: impact of OI on firm performance and on organizations’ structure, OI as a mechanism to hasten new product development, the analysis of the inbound/outbound dimensions of OI, and legal issues related to intellectual property right management when OI is implemented.


The study uses a combination of bibliometric indicators with a literature review.



Odriozola-Fernández, I., Berbegal-Mirabent, J. and Merigó-Lindahl, J.M. (2019), "Open innovation in small and medium enterprises: a bibliometric analysis", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 533-557.



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