The integration of national research systems is one of the central objectives of European research policies. Yet the epistemic objectives of this project have been poorly defined, and scant attention has been paid to whether political, social and financial integration of the European Research Area (ERA) is accompanied by epistemic integration. We discuss the conceptual framework and methodological practices to monitor research integration, and conclude that most of them, such as research collaboration, are only partial indicators of it. To augment existing approaches with an analysis of epistemic integration, we analyse the geographical sources of knowledge of Finnish research in the period 1995–2010. We show a broad shift towards a European knowledge base, demonstrating epistemic integration into the ERA, and that Finnish researchers are, paradoxically, sourcing knowledge from an increasingly distributed system of European knowledge hubs. As policy implications, we recommend clarifying the ERA’s epistemic objectives and redefining its strategy of ‘reducing fragmentation’.
Author(s): Hannes Toivanen and Arho Suominen
Organization(s): VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Source: Science and Public Policy