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The Emerging Concept of Responsible Innovation. Three Reasons why it is Questionable and Calls for a Radical Transformation of the Concept of Innovation

In Bert- Jaap Koops, Ilse Oosterlaken, Henny Romijn, Tsjalling Swiwestra & Jeroen Van Den Hoven (eds.), Responsible Innovation 2: Concepts, Approaches, and Applications. Dordrecht: Springer International Publishing. pp. 19-35 (2015)

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  1. The Politics of Knowledge in Inclusive Development and Innovation.David Ludwig, Birgit Boogaard, Phil Macnaghten & Cees Leeuwis (eds.) - 2021 - Routledge.
    This book develops an integrated perspective on the practices and politics of making knowledge work in inclusive development and innovation. While debates about development and innovation commonly appeal to the authority of academic researchers, many current approaches emphasize the plurality of actors with relevant expertise for addressing livelihood challenges. Adopting an action-oriented and reflexive approach, this volume explores the variety of ways in which knowledge works, paying particular attention to dilemmas and controversies. The six parts of the book address the (...)
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  • Inescapable Frameworks: Ethics of Care, Ethics of Rights and the Responsible Research and Innovation Model.Daniele Ruggiu - 2020 - Philosophy of Management 19 (3):237-265.
    Notwithstanding the EU endorsement, so far Responsible Research and Innovation is discussed as regards its definition, its features and its conceptual core: innovation and responsibility. This conceptual indeterminacy is a source of disagreements at the political level, giving rise to a plurality of outcomes and versions upheld within the same model of governance. Following a Charles Taylor’s suggestion, this conceptual opening of the RRI model can be explained by the existence of plural, clashing moral frameworks: discourse ethics, Aristotelian ethics, care (...)
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  • Technology in the Age of Innovation: Responsible Innovation as a New Subdomain Within the Philosophy of Technology.Lucien von Schomberg & Vincent Blok - 2021 - Philosophy and Technology 34 (2):309-323.
    Praised as a panacea for resolving all societal issues, and self-evidently presupposed as technological innovation, the concept of innovation has become the emblem of our age. This is especially reflected in the context of the European Union, where it is considered to play a central role in both strengthening the economy and confronting the current environmental crisis. The pressing question is how technological innovation can be steered into the right direction. To this end, recent frameworks of Responsible Innovation focus on (...)
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  • Responsible Research and Innovation: Coming to Grips with an Ambitious Concept.Martin Carrier & Gürol Irzik - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 19):4627-4633.
    This Introduction to the Special Issue on “Responsible Research and Innovation” outlines features of the philosophical debate about the concepts involved and summarizes the papers assembled in this issue. The topic of RRI is widely discussed in science studies and has made its way into science policy. This SI is intended to make the contributions of philosophers of science more visible. The philosophically relevant parts of the field concern, among others, the processes of public participation in science and their impact (...)
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  • How to Conceive of Science for the Benefit of Society: Prospects of Responsible Research and Innovation.Martin Carrier - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 19):4749-4768.
    Responsible research and innovation features the dialog of science “with society,” and research performed “for society,” i.e., for the benefit of the people. I focus on this latter, outcome-oriented notion of RRI and discuss two kinds of problems. The first one concerns options to anticipate the future course of science and technology. Such foresight knowledge seems necessary for subjecting research to demands of social and moral responsibility. However, predicting science and technology is widely considered impossible. The second problem concerns moral (...)
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  • Assembling Upstream Engagement: The Case of the Portuguese Deliberative Forum on Nanotechnologies.António Carvalho & João Arriscado Nunes - 2018 - NanoEthics 12 (2):99-113.
    This article analyzes a deliberative forum on nanotechnologies, organized in Portugal within the scope of the research project DEEPEN—Deepening Ethical Engagement and Participation in Emerging Nanotechnologies. This event included scientists, science communicators and members of the “lay public”, and resulted in a position document which summarizes collective aspirations and concerns related to nano. Drawing upon our previous experience with focus groups on nanotechnologies—characterized by methodological innovations that aimed at suspending epistemological inequalities between participants—this paper delves into the performativity of the (...)
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  • Conceptualizing Creativity and Innovation as Affective Processes: Steve Jobs, Lars von Trier, and Responsible Innovation.Lars Geer Hammershøj - 2018 - Philosophy of Management 17 (1):115-131.
    The aim of this article is to contribute to responsible innovation by developing a conceptual framework for the processes of creativity and innovation. The hypothesis is that creative and innovative processes are similar in that both are affective in nature. I develop this conceptual framework through an interpretation of the insights of Henri Poincaré’s notion of the ‘four stages’ in the creative process and Joseph Schumpeter’s notion of the entrepreneur. Building on this framework, I analyze the creative and innovative practices (...)
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  • Agricultural Innovation and the Role of Institutions: Lessons From the Game of Drones.Per Frankelius, Charlotte Norrman & Knut Johansen - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (5-6):681-707.
    In 2015, observers argued that the fourth agricultural revolution had been initiated. This article focuses on one part of this high-tech revolution: the origin, development, applications, and user value of unmanned aerial systems. Institutional changes connected to the UAS innovation are analyzed, based on a Swedish case study. The methods included autoethnography. The theoretical frame was composed by four perspectives: innovation, institutions, sustainability, and ethics. UAS can help farmers cut costs and produce higher quantity with better quality, and also has (...)
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  • Innovation Systems Approach: A Philosophical Appraisal.Arash Moussavi & Ali Kermanshah - 2018 - Philosophy of Management 17 (1):59-77.
    The innovation systems approach has swiftly spread out worldwide in the last three decades and stood as an important framework for policy-making in the fields of science, technology, and innovation. At the same time, there have been serious and untreated concerns in the literature about the theoretical soundness of this approach. Our discussion in this paper is based on the belief that a detailed analysis on epistemological foundations of the approach could shed a judgmental light on the aforementioned concerns. To (...)
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  • Nanotechnology and Risk Governance in the European Union: The Constitution of Safety in Highly Promoted and Contested Innovation Areas.Hannot Rodríguez - 2018 - NanoEthics 12 (1):5-26.
    The European Union is strategically committed to the development of nanotechnology and its industrial exploitation. However, nanotechnology also has the potential to disrupt human health and the environment. The EU claims to be committed to the safe and responsible development of nanotechnology. In this sense, the EU has become the first governing body in the world to develop nanospecific regulations, largely due to legislative action taken by the European Parliament, which has compensated for the European Commission’s reluctance to develop special (...)
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  • A Processual Approach To Friction in Quadruple Helix Collaborations.O. E. Popa, V. Blok & R. Wesselink - 2021 - Science and Public Policy 47 (6):876-889.
    R&D collaborations between industry, government, civil society, and research ) have recently gained attention from R&D theorists and practitioners. In aiming to come to grips with their complexity, past models have generally taken a stakeholder-analytical approach based on stakeholder types. Yet stakeholder types are difficult to operationalise. We therefore argue that a processual model is more suited for studying the interaction in QHCs because it eschews matters of titles and identities. We develop such a model in which the QHC is (...)
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  • Synergies in Innovation: Lessons Learnt from Innovation Ethics for Responsible Innovation.Michel Bourban & Johan Rochel - 2021 - Philosophy and Technology 34 (2):373-394.
    This paper draws on the emerging field of innovation ethics to complement the more established field of responsible innovation by focusing on key ethical issues raised by technological innovations. One key limitation of influential frameworks of RI is that they tend to neglect some key ethical issues raised by innovation, as well as major normative dimensions of the notion of responsibility. We explain how IE could enrich RI by stressing the more important role that ethical analysis should play in RI. (...)
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  • A Critical Hermeneutic Reflection on the Paradigm-Level Assumptions Underlying Responsible Innovation.Job Timmermans & Vincent Blok - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 19):4635-4666.
    The current challenges of implementing responsible innovation can in part be traced back to the assumptions behind the ways of thinking that ground the different pre-existing theories and approaches that are shared under the RI-umbrella. Achieving the ideals of RI, therefore not only requires a shift on an operational and systemic level but also at the paradigm-level. In order to develop a deeper understanding of this paradigm shift, this paper analyses the paradigm-level assumptions that are being brought forward by the (...)
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  • The Turbulent Age of Innovation.Lucien von Schomberg & Vincent Blok - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 19):1-17.
    The concept of innovation has entered a turbulent age. On the one hand, it is uncritically understood as ‘technological innovation’ and ‘commercialized innovation.’ On the other hand, ongoing research under the heading responsible research and innovation suggests that current global issues require innovation to go beyond its usual intent of generating commercial value. However, little thought goes into what innovation means conceptually. Although there is a focus on enabling outcomes of innovation processes to become more responsible and desirable, the technological (...)
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  • Technology in the Age of Innovation: Responsible Innovation as a New Subdomain Within the Philosophy of Technology.Lucien von Schomberg & Vincent Blok - 2021 - Philosophy and Technology 34 (2):309-323.
    Praised as a panacea for resolving all societal issues, and self-evidently presupposed as technological innovation, the concept of innovation has become the emblem of our age. This is especially reflected in the context of the European Union, where it is considered to play a central role in both strengthening the economy and confronting the current environmental crisis. The pressing question is how technological innovation can be steered into the right direction. To this end, recent frameworks of Responsible Innovation focus on (...)
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  • Does Proof of Concept Trump All? RRI Dilemmas in Research Practices.Anita Borch & Harald Throne-Holst - 2021 - Science and Engineering Ethics 27 (1):1-21.
    Responsible Research and Innovation is described as a new way of doing science that brings science closer to society. Based on a qualitatively oriented case study, this article supports previous research indicating that researchers face a variety of ethical problems and dilemmas when implementing RRI for the first time. These include difficulties with anticipating and controlling future impacts, an asymmetry of power between project partners and an elusive understanding of the RRI concept. The researchers’ challenges were rooted in conventional research (...)
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  • An Agonistic Approach to Technological Conflict.Eugen Octav Popa, Vincent Blok & Renate Wesselink - forthcoming - Philosophy and Technology:1-21.
    Traditional approaches to conflict are oriented towards establishing consensus, either in the form of a resolution of the conflict or in the form of an ‘agree-to-disagree’ standstill between the stakeholders. In this paper, we criticize these traditional approaches, each for specific reasons, and we propose and develop the agonistic approach to conflict. Based on Chantal Mouffe’s agonistic democratic theory, the agonistic approach to conflict is more welcoming of dissensus, replacing discussion stoppers with discussion starters and replacing standstills with contestation. We (...)
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  • Understanding and Managing Responsible Innovation.Hans Bennink - 2020 - Philosophy of Management 19 (3):317-348.
    As a relational concept, responsible innovation can be made more tangible by asking innovation of what and responsibility of whom for what? Arranging the scattered field of responsible innovation comprehensively, starting from an anthropological point of view, into five fields of tension and five categories of spearheads, may be theoretically and practically helpful while offering suggestions for both research and management.
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  • Creative Tensions: Mutual Responsiveness Adapted to Private Sector Research and Development.Matti Sonck, Lotte Asveld, Laurens Landeweerd & Patricia Osseweijer - 2017 - Life Sciences, Society and Policy 13 (1):1-24.
    The concept of mutual responsiveness is currently based on little empirical data in the literature of Responsible Research and Innovation. This paper explores RRI’s idea of mutual responsiveness in the light of recent RRI case studies on private sector research and development. In RRI, responsible innovation is understood as a joint endeavour of innovators and societal stakeholders, who become mutually responsive to each other in defining the ‘right impacts’ of the innovation in society, and in steering the innovation towards realising (...)
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  • Evolutionary Economics, Responsible Innovation and Demand: Making a Case for the Role of Consumers.Michael P. Schlaile, Matthias Mueller, Michael Schramm & Andreas Pyka - 2018 - Philosophy of Management 17 (1):7-39.
    This paper contributes to the conceptualisation of responsible innovation by proposing an evolutionary economic approach that focuses on the role of consumers in the innovation process. After a discussion of the philosophical foundations and ethical implications of this approach, which bears an explanatory potential that has not been adequately considered in previous discussions of responsible innovation, we present a first step towards capturing the important but often neglected role of consumers in innovation processes : We propose an agent-based model that (...)
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  • Responsible Research Is Not Good Science: Divergences Inhibiting the Enactment of RRI in Nanosafety.Lilian van Hove & Fern Wickson - 2017 - NanoEthics 11 (3):213-228.
    The desire to guide research and innovation in more ‘responsible’ directions is increasingly emphasised in national and international policies, the funding of inter- and trans-disciplinary collaborations and academic scholarship on science policy and technology governance. Much of this growth has occurred simultaneously with the development of nanoscale sciences and technologies, where emphasis on the need for responsible research and innovation has been particularly widespread. This paper describes an empirical study exploring the potential for RRI within nanosafety research in Norway and (...)
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  • Responsible Innovation: A Smithian Perspective.Matthias P. Hühn - 2018 - Philosophy of Management 17 (1):41-57.
    Adam Smith’s is often falsely portrayed as having argued that radical selfishness is a force for the good and that this “invisible hand’ is his market mechanism. This paper argues that Smith’s real market mechanism, the sympathy manoeuvre, is a viable alternative to Schumpeterian and mainstream models of innovation in economics and also could help build a firmer theoretical basis for other approaches such as Responsible Innovation. To Smith all human activity was social and must be understood and explained in (...)
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  • Can Merging a Capability Approach with Effectual Processes Help Us Define a Permissible Action Range for AI Robotics Entrepreneurship?Yuko Kamishima, Bart Gremmen & Hikari Akizawa - 2018 - Philosophy of Management 17 (1):97-113.
    In this paper, we first enumerate the problems that humans might face with a new type of technology such as robots with artificial intelligence. Robotics entrepreneurs are calling for discussions about goals and values because AI robots, which are potentially more intelligent than humans, can no longer be fully understood and controlled by humans. AI robots could even develop into ethically “bad” agents and become very harmful. We consider these discussions as part of a process of developing responsible innovations in (...)
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  • Managing Socio-Ethical Challenges in the Development of Smart Farming: From a Fragmented to a Comprehensive Approach for Responsible Research and Innovation.C. Eastwood, L. Klerkx, M. Ayre & B. Dela Rue - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (5):741-768.
    Smart farming has largely been driven by productivity and efficiency aims, but there is an increasing awareness of potential socio-ethical challenges. The responsible research and innovation approach aims to address such challenges but has had limited application in smart farming contexts. Using smart dairying research and development in New Zealand as a case study, we examine the extent to which principles of RRI have been applied in NZ smart dairying development and assess the broader lessons for RRI application in smart (...)
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  • Philosophy of Innovation: A Research Agenda: Guest Editorial.Vincent Blok - 2018 - Philosophy of Management 17 (1):1-5.
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  • Visioneering Socio-Technical Innovations — a Missing Piece of the Puzzle.Martin Sand & Christoph Schneider - 2017 - NanoEthics 11 (1):19-29.
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  • Foresighting for Responsible Innovation Using a Delphi Approach: A Case Study of Virtual Fencing Innovation in Cattle Farming.D. Brier, C. R. Eastwood, B. T. Dela Rue & D. W. Viehland - 2020 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 33 (3):549-569.
    The use of virtual fencing in pasture-grazed farm systems is currently close to commercial reality but there are no studies applying the principles of responsible research and innovation, such as foresighting, to this technology. This paper reports results of a study aimed at foresighting potential implications associated with virtual fencing of cattle. A Delphi method was used to survey the opinions of farming practitioners and researchers, using pasture-grazed cattle farming in New Zealand as a case study. The key benefits were (...)
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  • Toward a Value-Sensitive Absorptive Capacity Framework: Navigating Intervalue and Intravalue Conflicts to Answer the Societal Call for Health.Onno S. W. F. Omta, Léon Jansen, Oana Branzei, Vincent Blok & Jilde Garst - 2021 - Business and Society 60 (6):1349-1386.
    The majority of studies on absorptive capacity underscore the importance of absorbing technological knowledge from other firms to create economic value. However, to preserve moral legitimacy and create social value, firms must also discern and adapt to societal values. A comparative case study of eight firms in the food industry reveals how organizations prioritize and operationalize the societal value health in product innovation while navigating inter- and intravalue conflicts. The value-sensitive framework induced in this article extends AC by explaining how (...)
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  • Contextualizing Security Innovation: Responsible Research and Innovation at the Smart Border?Frederik C. Huettenrauch & Nina Klimburg-Witjes - 2021 - Science and Engineering Ethics 27 (1):1-19.
    Current European innovation and security policies are increasingly channeled into efforts to address the assumed challenges that threaten European societies. A field in which this has become particularly salient is digitized EU border management. Here, the framework of responsible research and innovation has recently been used to point to the alleged sensitivity of political actors towards the contingent dimensions of emerging security technologies. RRI, in general, is concerned with societal needs and the engagement and inclusion of various stakeholder groups in (...)
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  • Why Do Firms Implement Responsible Innovation? The Case of Emerging Technologies in South Korea.Eunok Ko & Yeonbae Kim - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (5):2663-2692.
    With the rise of responsible innovation initiatives in firms that commercialize innovation in recent years, experts have argued that in order for RI to succeed, practical issues must be considered. Accordingly, this paper explores RI from the perspective of Korean emerging technology development firms. Although social benefits are expected from RI, which aims to reduce the side effects of innovations for society, the implementation of RI requires changing firms’ existing rules and routines. Therefore, predicting benefits and costs from the firm’s (...)
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  • Transforming Scientists’ Understanding of Science–Society Relations. Stimulating Double-Loop Learning When Teaching RRI.Maria Bårdsen Hesjedal, Heidrun Åm, Knut H. Sørensen & Roger Strand - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (3):1633-1653.
    The problem of developing research and innovation in accordance with society’s general needs and values has received increasing attention in research policy. In the last 7 years, the concept of “Responsible Research and Innovation” has gained prominence in this regard, along with the resulting question of how best to integrate awareness about science–society relations into daily practices in research and higher education. In this context, post-graduate training has been seen as a promising entrance point, but tool-kit approaches more frequently have (...)
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  • Conceptual Investigation Within Area of Responsible Research and Innovation.Rafał Wodzisz - 2020 - Zagadnienia Naukoznawstwa 55 (1(219)):11.
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  • Technology in the Age of Innovation: Responsible Innovation as a New Subdomain Within the Philosophy of Technology.Lucien von Schomberg & Vincent Blok - 2019 - Philosophy and Technology 1:1-15.
    Praised as a panacea for resolving all societal issues, and self-evidently presupposed as technological innovation, the concept of innovation has become the emblem of our age. This is especially reflected in the context of the European Union, where it is considered to play a central role in both strengthening the economy and confronting the current environmental crisis. The pressing question is how technological innovation can be steered into the right direction. To this end, recent frameworks of Responsible Innovation focus on (...)
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  • Managing Socio-Ethical Challenges in the Development of Smart Farming: From a Fragmented to a Comprehensive Approach for Responsible Research and Innovation.C. Eastwood, L. Klerkx, M. Ayre & B. Dela Rue - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (5):741-768.
    Smart farming has largely been driven by productivity and efficiency aims, but there is an increasing awareness of potential socio-ethical challenges. The responsible research and innovation approach aims to address such challenges but has had limited application in smart farming contexts. Using smart dairying research and development in New Zealand as a case study, we examine the extent to which principles of RRI have been applied in NZ smart dairying development and assess the broader lessons for RRI application in smart (...)
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  • The Relationship Between Ethical Organisational Culture and Organisational Innovativeness: Comparison of Findings From Finland and Lithuania.Raminta Pučėtaitė, Aurelija Novelskaitė, Anna-Maija Lämsä & Elina Riivari - 2016 - Journal of Business Ethics 139 (4):685-700.
    The paper explores the interrelations between ethical organisational culture and organisational innovativeness in two different socio-cultural contexts, Finland and Lithuania. According to the Global Innovation Index 2013, Finland ranked 6th and Lithuania 40th in terms of the national capacity to produce innovations. Prior research by Riivari and Lämsä and Riivari et al. argues the importance of the ethical dimension of organisational culture in fostering the organisational capacity to innovate. In this paper, a different context is taken to test hypothesised differences (...)
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  • Models of Anticipation Within the Responsible Research and Innovation Framework: The Two RRI Approaches and the Challenge of Human Rights.Daniele Ruggiu - 2019 - NanoEthics 13 (1):53-78.
    Anticipation is one of the main goals of new governance models, such as Responsible Research and Innovation. However, there is not a single mode of anticipation in this model. Two approaches can be addressed within the RRI framework: a socio-empirical one, which tends to underline the role of the democratic processes, aimed at identifying values on which governance needs to be anchored ; and a normative one, which stresses the role of EU goals as ‘normative anchor points’ in governance. These (...)
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  • Definitions and Conceptual Dimensions of Responsible Research and Innovation: A Literature Review.Mirjam Burget, Emanuele Bardone & Margus Pedaste - 2017 - Science and Engineering Ethics 23 (1):1-19.
    The aim of this study is to provide a discussion on the definitions and conceptual dimensions of Responsible Research and Innovation based on findings from the literature. In the study, the outcomes of a literature review of 235 RRI-related articles were presented. The articles were selected from the EBSCO and Google Scholar databases regarding the definitions and dimensions of RRI. The results of the study indicated that while administrative definitions were widely quoted in the reviewed literature, they were not substantially (...)
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