Quality & Quantity

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 989–1007 | Cite as

Triple helix dynamics of South Korea’s innovation system: a network analysis of inter-regional technological collaborations

  • Jungwon Yoon
  • Han Woo ParkEmail author


This study intends to unveil the current innovation landscape of South Korea in an attempt to examine the underlying patterns of inter-regional technology collaboration occurring at the triple helix level. Social network analysis techniques are used to quantify the structure of the four types of inter-provincial co-inventorship network between university, industry, and government (UIG). The findings confirm the declining centrality of Seoul as the primary research center with the emergence of new regional players such as Gyeonggi and Daejeon. However, they also reveal that these three main innovative regions have become strongly linked in recent years and constitute the core of the inter-regional collaboration networks. The poor linkage between the research core and the periphery, in turn, raises some concerns regarding the unfair geographical concentration of innovation resources and technology activities, hindering the synergy in the national and regional innovation systems. To create a dynamic innovative milieu for bolstering Korea’s national innovation system, therefore, interactive learning between the core and the periphery, as well as between the various UIG actors, must be further facilitated.


South Korea Triple helix Technological collaboration Patent Inter-regional network Patent 



The first author acknowledges that this work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2015S1A5B5A01015224). The corresponding author also acknowledges that this work was supported by the 2016 Yeungnam University Research Grant.


  1. Arocena, R., Sutz, J.: Innovation system and developing countries. Accessed 31 January 2016 (2005)
  2. Carayannis, E.G., Campbell, D.F.J.: Triple helix, quadruple helix and quintuple helix and how do knowledge, innovation, and environment relate to each other? Int. J. Soc. Ecol. Sustain. Dev. 1(1), 41–69 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen, Z., Guan, J.: Mapping of biotechnology patents of China from 1995-2008. Scientometrics 88, 73–89 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Choi, S., Yang, J.S.W., Park, H.W.: The triple helix and international collaboration in science. J. Assoc. Inf. Sci. Technol. 66, 201–212 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chung, S.: Building a national innovation system through regional innovation systems. Technovation 22, 485–491 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Etzkowitz, H.: The Triple Helix: University-Industry-Government Innovation in Action. Routledge, London (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Etzkowitz, H., Leydesdorff, L.: The dynamics of innovation: from national systems and ‘mode 2’ to a triple helix of university-industry-government relations. Res. Policy 29, 109–123 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fleming, L., King, C., Juda, A.I.: Small worlds and regional innovation. Organ. Sci. 18, 938–954 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fritsch, M.: R&D-cooperation and the efficiency of regional innovation activities. Camb. J. Econ. 28, 829–846 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gao, X., Guan, J., Rousseau, R., et al.: Mapping collaborative knowledge production in China using patent co-inventorships. Scientometrics 88, 343–362 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gibbons, M.: The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies. Sage, London (1994)Google Scholar
  12. Glänzel, W., Schlemmer, B.: National research profiles in a changing Europe (1983–2003): an exploratory study of sectoral characteristics in the triple helix. Scientometrics 70, 267–275 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Guan, J., Zhao, Q.: The impact of university-industry collaboration networks on innovation in nanobiopharmaceuticals. Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change 80, 1271–1286 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hong, W.: Decline of the center: the decentralizing process of knowledge transfer of Chinese universities from 1985 to 2004. Res. Policy 37, 580–595 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Huang, M.-H., Dong, H.-R., Chen, D.-Z.: The unbalanced performance and regional differences in scientific and technological collaboration in the field of solar cells. Scientometrics 94, 423–438 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kim, H.: Regional innovation policy of South Korea, compared with, and learning from, the European Union. Accessed 11 December 2015 (2007)
  17. Kwon, K.-S., Park, H.W., So, M., Leydesdorff, L.: Has globalization strengthened South Korea’s national research system? National and international dynamics of the triple helix of scientific co-authorship relationships in South Korea. Scientometrics 90, 163–176 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kwon, K.S., Jang, D., Park, H.W.: Network, channel, and geographical proximity of knowledge transfer: the case of university-industry collaboration in South Korea. Asian J. Innov. Policy 4(2), 242–262 (2015). doi: 10.7545/ajip.2015.4.2.242 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lei, X.-P., Zhao, Z.-Y., Zhang, X., Chen, D.-Z., Huang, M.-H., Zhao, Y.-H.: The inventive activities and collaboration pattern of university-industry-government in China based on patent analysis. Scientometrics 90, 231–251 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Nooy, W.D., Mrvar, A., Batagelj, V.: Exploratory Social Network Analysis with Pajek. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Park, H.W.: Transition from the triple helix to N-tuple helices? An interview with Elias G. Carayannis and David F. J. Cambell Scientometr. 99(1), 203–207 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Park, H.W., Leydesdorff, L.: Longitudinal trends in networks of university-industry-government relations in South Korea: the role of programmatic incentives. Res. Policy 39, 640–649 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Powell, W.W., DiMaggio, P.J.: The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ramos-Vielba, I., Fernández-Esquinas, M., Espinosa-de-los-Monteros, E.: Measuring university-industry collaboration in a regional innovation system. Scientometrics 84, 649–667 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ranga, M., Etzkowitz, H.: Triple helix systems: an analytical framework for innovation policy and practice in the knowledge society. Ind. Higher Educ. 27(4), 237–262 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shapiro, M.A., So, M., Park, H.W.: Quantifying the national innovation system: inter-regional collaboration network in South Korea. Technol. Anal. Strateg. Manag. 22, 845–857 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sohn, D.W., Kenney, M.: Universities, clusters, and innovation systems: the case of Seoul, Korea. World Dev. 35, 991–1004 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sohn, D.-W., Kim, H.K., Lee, J.H.: Policy-driven university-industry linkages and regional innovation networks in Korea. Environ. Plan. C: Gov. Policy 27, 647–664 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Villarreal, O., Calvo, N.: From the triple helix model to the global open innovation model: a case study based on international cooperation for innovation in Dominican Republic. J. Eng. Technol. Manage. 35, 71–92 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Yoon, J.: The evolution of South Korea’s innovation system: moving towards the triple helix model? Scientometrics 104, 265–293 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zheng, J., Zhao, Z., Zhang, X., Chen, D., Huang, M.: International collaboration development in nanotechnology: a perspective of patent network analysis. Scientometrics 98, 684–702 (2014)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Soongsil UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Media & Communication, Interdisciplinary Programs of East Asian Cultural Studies and Digital Convergence BusinessYeungnam UniversityGyeongsan-siSouth Korea

Personalised recommendations