Loet Leydesdorff

Loet Leydesdorff

Loet Leydesdorff (21 August, 1948 Djakarta (Dutch Indies)) is a Dutch sociologist, cyberneticist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. He is known for his work sociology of communication and innovation.


Leydesdorff was born in 1948 in Djakarta in the Dutch Indies. He received a B.Sc. in chemistry in 1969, a M.Sc. biochemistry in 1973, an M.A. in philosophy in 1977 and in 1984 a Ph.D. in sociology.

In 1969 he started working as parttime professor for chemical technology at the Rietveld Academy of Arts in Amsterdam. In 1972 he started his career at the University of Amsterdam from teaching assistant for "Science and Society" at the Philosophy Faculty to Senior lecturer since 1980 at the Department of Science & Technology Dynamics of the University of Amsterdam and at the Amsterdam School of Communications Research since 2000. [ [http://itsy.co.uk/archive/sisn/Member/Loet.htm Loet Leydesdorf Hogeweg 76 ] ]

Since 2006 he is Honorary Research Fellow at the Virtual Knowledge Studio of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences. And since 2007 Honorary Fellow of SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research of the University of Sussex. Currently he is also president of the Dutch Systems Group society, the society that cofounded the International Federation for Systems Research begin 1980s.

He works on the editorial boards of "Scientometrics" since 1987, "Social Science Information" since 1994, "Industry and Higher Education" since 1997, "Cybermetrics" since 1997, the "Journal of Technology Transfer" since 1999, the "tripleC: e-journal for cognition • communication • co-operation" since 2002, the "Science & Public Policy" since 2004, "Science Forum" since 2005, "Informetrics" since 2006 and the "International Journal of Applied Systemic Studies" since 2006. He further worked for the "Enterprise and Innovation Management Studies" journal 1999-2001, for "Science, Technology and Society" in 2001-02 and for the "Journal of the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics" from 1995 to 1998. As contributing editor he also worked for "Science, Technology & Human Values" 1988-1990 and for "Science & Technology Studies" 1987-1988.

He received the Derek de Solla Price Award for scientometrics in 2003, and he is honorary Fellow of the Virtual Knowledge Studio at the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam. [Ronald Rousseau (2004), "Loet Leydesdorff: Recipient of the 2003 Derek de Solla Price Award", in: "Scientometrics" Vol 60, Nr.3, August 2004, p.275-277.]


He has worked in the field of the philosophy of science, social network analysis, scientometrics, and the sociology of innovation. His studies in communication in science, technology, and innovation enabled him to specify theory and methods for understanding the dynamics of knowledge-based development.

Action theory

Interaction constitutes a system of reference for the observable events different from action or its aggregates. While both Parsons and Giddens had attributed actions to actors and/or aggregates of actors performing via institutions, Luhmann's theory sided with symbolic interactionism by defining human action in terms of its interactive meaning at the network level. Note that the interaction term is by definition the remaining uncertainty at the network level after accounting for the "within-group" variation in the aggregate. Loet Leydesdorff (2000), [http://users.fmg.uva.nl/lleydesdorff/montreal.htm "Luhmann, Habermas, and the Theory of Communication"] in: "Systems Research and Behavioral Science" Vol. 17, issue 3, pp. 273-288.]

When action is attributed to communication at the network level, this system of reference is expected to have its own dynamics. The dynamics of the interactions are assumed to "self"-organize the roles that are attributed to the actors. The actors carry the network at the nodes while the links of the network span an architecture which develops additional complexity in terms of its recursive interactions. The architecture of relations can be considered as a structure containing the expected information of the network's further development.

Multi-faceted knowledge environment

The idea of a dense and multi-faceted knowledge environment is seen as a key attractor to knowledge businesses and their employees, analogous to the recent suggestion by relevant research that “proactive general regional policies can play a long-term role in attracting knowledge-intensive investments by making the commercial environment friendly to such investments” (Gray and Dunning, 2000), thus constructing comparative advantage (Cooke and Leydesdorff, 2006). But strengths and opportunities were not just compiled for external promotion. [ Sybille Reicherteua, "The rise of knowledge regions: Emerging opportunities and challenges for universities," the European University Association, 2006.]

Sociological theory of communication

Leydesdorff's sociological theory of communication is founded in a tradition that includes Giddens' structuration theory, Habermas' theory of communicative action, and Luhmann's proposal to consider social systems as self-organizing. The study also elaborates on Shannon's mathematical theory of communication for the formalization and operationalization of the non-linear dynamics. [ Loet Leydesdorff (2001), "A Sociological Theory of Communication: The Self-Organization of the Knowledge-Based Society", Universal Publishers. Introduction.]

In his "A Sociological Theory of Communication", Loet Leydesdorff sets out to answer the question, "Can society be considered as a self-organizing (autopoietic) system?" In the process, Leydesdorff, develops a general sociological theory of communication, as well as a special theory of scientific communication designed to analyze complex systems such as the European Information Society. [ Eric G. Ackermann, [http://users.fmg.uva.nl/lleydesdorff/evolcomm/jasist.Jan02.pdf A Sociological Theory of Communication: The Self-Organization of the Knowledge-Based Society] review. in JASIST Vol 53 nr 1, pp. 62-63]


A self-organizing network propels its own operation recursively, that is, by restructuring its organizational basis in the present on the basis of its interactions. The observable network, that is, the architecture at each moment in time, contains an expectation of its future operation. This uncertainty is contained in the distribution of nodes and links over the network.

The expected information content of a subsequent message reporting change in the network system is equal to the sum-total or aggregate of all the mutual information of the network with communicating agencies. The remaining uncertainty, that is, the structure of the interactions, recurs on the previous state of the network since it was not affected by the interactions with actors. This uncertainty, however, cannot be fully perceived by any of the participating actors. They are embedded and therefore the network structure remains (at least partially) latent for them and the operation of the network consequently remains virtual. Structure at the network level is communicated with actors through their respective windows of mutual information.

In study "The Challenge of Scientometrics: The development, measurement, and self-organization of scientific communications" from 2001 provides a set of non-parametric methods for studying, among other things, the qualitative knowledge base in socio-cognitive processes of communication and codification. [ Newsletter of the Society for Social Studies of Science, [http://www.rpi.edu/dept/sts/technoscience/pdf/fall2001.pdf. Technoscience] , Fall 2001: Volume 14, Number 3. ]

See also

* Collaboration
* Mode 2
* Self-organization


Leydesdorff has published extensively in fields of systems theory, social network analysis, scientometrics, and the sociology of innovation. [ [http://www.the-science-lab.com/Math/Organizations.html The sciences lab] on organisations, retrieved September 2007.] [ For a complete list of publications see Leyesdorff's [http://www.leydesdorff.net/list.htm list of publications] .] Books:
* 1987, with Stuart Blume, Joske Bunders and Richard P. Whitley, "The Social Direction of the Public Sciences: Causes and Consequences of Cooperation Between Scientists and Non-Scientific Groups", Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook, Springer.
* 1994, with Peter Van Den Besselaar, "Evolutionary Economics and Chaos Theory: New Directions in Technology Studies", Palgrave Macmillan.
* 2001, "The Challenge of Scientometrics: the development, measurement, and self-organization of scientific communications", Universal Publishers [ A previous monograph had a second on-line edition at http://www.upbulish.com/leydesdorff-sci.htm ]
* 2001, "A Sociological Theory of Communication: The Self-Organization of the Knowledge-Based Society", Universal Publishers. [ [http://www.upublish.com/leydesdorff.htm Universal Publishers :: Bookstore ] ]
* 2005, with Henry Etzkowitz, "Universities And The Global Knowledge Economy: A Triple Helix Of University-Industry-Government Relations", Continuum International Publishing Group.
* 2006, "The Knowledge-Based Economy: Modeled, Measured, Simulated", Universal Publishers.

Articles, a selection:
* 1994, "The Evolution of Communication Systems", in: "Int. J. Systems Research and Information Science" Vol 6, pp. 219-30.
* 2001, with Henry Etzkowitz, "The dynamics of innovation: from National Systems and ‘‘Mode 2’’ to a Triple Helix of university–industry–government relations", in: "Research Policy", vol 29, pp 109–123.
* 2005, with Caroline S. Wagner, [http://users.fmg.uva.nl/lleydesdorff/cswagner07/index.htm "Globalisation in the network of science in 2005: The diffusion of international collaboration and the formation of a core group"] .
* 2006, with Phil Cooke, “Regional Development in the Knowledge-Based Economy: The Construction of Advantage.” Journal of Technology Transfer. Special Issue, pp. 1-15.


External links

* [http://www.leydesdorff.net Homepage] Loet Leyesdorff
* [http://users.fmg.uva.nl/lleydesdorff/cv.htm Curriculum vitae of LEYDESDORFF, Loet]

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