Evolutionary developmental biology is a highly variable scientific innovation because researchers can adapt their involvement in the innovation to the opportunities provided by their environment. On the basis of comparative case studies in four countries, we link epistemic properties of research tasks to three types of necessary protected space, and identify the necessary and facilitating conditions for building them. We found that the variability of research tasks made contributing to evolutionary developmental biology possible under most sets of authority relations. However, even the least demanding research depends on its acceptance as legitimate innovation by the scientific community and of purely basic research by state policy and research organisations. The latter condition is shown to become precarious.
We would like to thank Jochen Gläser for invaluable suggestions how to cope with the unusual complexity of this comparative case study, and Richard Whitley for helping us to clarify the argument and improving the readability of this article.
Laudel, G., Benninghoff, M., Lettkemann, E. and Håkansson, E. (2014), "Highly Adaptable but Not Invulnerable: Necessary and Facilitating Conditions for Research in Evolutionary Developmental Biology", Organizational Transformation and Scientific Change: The Impact of Institutional Restructuring on Universities and Intellectual Innovation (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 42), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 235-265. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X20140000042008Download as .RIS
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