Thematic Issue: "Perspectives on innovation governance: challenges and dilemmas."


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Call for Articles

Guest Editors: Monica Edwards-Schachter (European School of Social Innovation & External Lecturer at the University of Burgos) and Gonzalo Ordóñez-Matamoros (University of Twente & Universidad Externado de Colombia)

Proposals submissions should be made by e-mail:

Deadlines [EXTENDED]:

‐ Submission of abstract proposals: 2 May 2022

‐ Selection of proposals fit for article submission: 15 June 2022

- Full article submission: 22 August 2022


Submission of abstract proposals should present:

  • Between 250 and 500 words;
  • Brief introduction, objectives, methodology, hypothesis (if applicable) and conclusions;
  • Up to five keywords;
  • Up to five bibliographic references;
  • Authors' affiliations and e-mail addresses.
Read more about Thematic Issue: "Perspectives on innovation governance: challenges and dilemmas."

Current Issue

No II (2020): Responsible Innovation (RI) in the midst of an innovation crisis

Second Issue, 2020

Responsible Innovation (RI) in the midst of an innovation crisis

Guest Editors

Lucien von Schomberg, University of Greenwich (United Kingdom)

Vincent Blok, Wageningen University (Netherlands)



The concept of Responsible Innovation (RI) occupies a central place in the discourse on science and technology, especially in the context of the European Union (EU) but also within academia. This concept is guided by the idea of steering science and technology towards societally desirable outcomes, particularly in response to normative objectives such as Sustainable Development Goals (von Schomberg, 2019). Visions of RI typically propose that to innovate responsibly requires a permanent commitment to be anticipatory, reflective, inclusively deliberative, and responsive (Owen et al., 2012). They also emphasize the need for open access, gender equality, science education, ethical standard in conducting experiments, and democratic governance (European Commission, 2020).

However, the societal purpose of RI fundamentally conflicts with the imperative of maximizing economic growth inherent in today’s innovation climate (von Schomberg, 2022). This conflict points to a crisis in which innovation struggles to serve public interests insofar private interests continue to be prioritized. The magnitude of this crisis is also reflected within the RI literature itself, where the political ambition to exceed the privatization wave is summoned to a techno-economic concept of innovation (von Schomberg & Blok, 2019). This issue of NOvation Critical Studies of Innovation brings into question to what extent innovation necessarily relates to the market, whether it is possible to develop an alternative concept of innovation that is separated from economic ends, and how we can conceptualize, for example, a political understanding of innovation. What really is innovation? While all seven contributions share the aspiration to critically reflect on these questions, they each offer a distinct and original perspective in discussing the relation between innovation, technology, politics, economics, and responsibility.

ISSN 2562-7147

Published: 2022-02-28
View All Issues

Statement of Aims

The International Journal NOvation – Critical Studies of Innovation is underway to contribute to the rethinking and debunking of innovation narratives in both the interdisciplinary STSScience, Technology and Society, and the wide array of STI Science, Technology, and Innovation disciplinary fields.

Our first steps date back to April 2017, where this endeavour was already in perspective with Godin and Vinck book (2017). From then, a first Issue was proposed: "X-innovation: Re-inventing Innovation Again and Again" (with B. Godin, G. Gaglio and S. Pfotenhauer as editors), in the meanwhile launched in 2019 (June).

Putting together several scholars across at least three continents, NOvation is in itself proof of an urge to open the field of innovation studies and other interdisciplinary –and every disciplinary– areas engaged with STI discourses. New generations have been bold in internationalising their practices and contributing to a broader kind of inter- cross-disciplinary problems and interpretations. Like this, our Editorial Board is encouraging co-authorship between disciplines, promoting special issues with guest editors, in subjects that debate different areas and engage the innovation field with new and more critical generations.

We should emphasise that there is now a younger generation of researchers, more open to this 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. In fact, from the very beginning, "innovation studies" has been a policy-oriented field. Otherwise, there are indeed many scholars who do not recognise 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 innovation studies presented as the unavoidable path to scholars and experts and get better pictures of innovation than the one this field has been used to. This Journal questions then the current narratives of innovation and offers a forum to discuss some different interpretations of innovation, not just its virtues but also its implications.

In this sense, NO refers to the non-innovative behaviours, which are as crucial to our societies as innovation. Failures, imitation and adverse effects of innovation, to take just some examples of non-innovation or NOvation, are minimised and rarely form part of innovation theories. The following topics comprehend this journal scope of interests and critical approaches:

- Deconstructing theories and models of innovation;

- Deconstructing the discourses proposing, idealising 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.

Besides, the areas that NOvation calls to collaborate represents 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;
  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 travelling 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 from 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 are also looking for alternative indicators to better account for the diversity of access and appropriation of knowledge, than the only provided by citation and impact factors in a mainstream journal. In addition, with our open peer review policy, we are encouraging responsible and grounded evaluations and constructive debates, which means that when it reveals interesting, this somewhat 'invisible' work of a journal might be published in a proper section.

The critical study of innovation is essential because innovation as a word is everywhere in contemporary societies. Innovation is on the political discourses, cultural and knowledge debates, and 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 understanding "why innovation is (un)important' in connection to other categories of human agency contributing to progress", or put in other words: understand 'why, where and when' innovation could be– or not be– important to progress and development of human endeavour in different contexts and regions.

Adopting a critical stance and studying innovation not from a performative place, that's our challenge to innovation studies communities across the globe. Indeed, the field of innovation studies is normative and programmatic. People like to construct new theories or visions. They are not used to historical, conceptual and critical analysis of innovation. This is what we want to build at NOvation. NOvation examines those who research, study or talk about innovation, the vocabulary and the concepts used, the discourses developed (past and present), the theories constructed, the assumptions, values and ideologies behind the theories, ideas, views, etc. This why our look towards innovation is concerned (though not exclusively) with historical and genealogical aspects: in short, what is the 'originality' of the theories? To what extent do the alternatives challenge existing theories? This includes looking at the context of the emergence of the alternative theories; the origin of the alternative theories, evolution and recent developments; the goals (explicit and implicit) and rationales of the theories; conceptual and discursive aspects – namely, to identify precursor terms and to study a particular semantic field. In sum, our contribution at NOvation is anchored on the assumption that it has become vital to our contemporary legibility to scrutinise the discourses held in the name of, or uses of, the theories (in the academic community, among practitioners and/or policymakers). This is to unveil the normativeness of those discourses or theories: what role values and policy play in the new narratives? That is to study the politics and ideology of innovation. (Godin 2019; Godin et al. 2021)

Tiago Brandão (Managing Editor)


Operation and Rules

ISSN 2562-7147

This is a peer-review journal (two evaluations per manuscript).

We are publishing an annual Special Issue.

For submission, look at the Authors Guidelines (i.e., should follow APA Styles).


Copyright Statement
This Open Access journal is under a Creative Commons License – CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0, that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.



GODIN, B., VINCK, D. (Eds.) (2017). Critical Studies of Innovation. Alternative Approaches to the Pro-Innovation Bias. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

GODIN, B. (2019). The Invention of Technological Innovation: Languages, Discourses and Ideology in Historical Perspective. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

GODIN, B. (2020). The Idea of Technological Innovation. A Brief Alternative History. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

GODIN, B., GAGLIO, G, VINCK, D. (Eds.) (2021). Handbook on Alternative Theories of Innovation. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.