We used mutual information and transmission power as indicators of knowledge circulation between innovation actors. The units of analysis in scientific publications are indexed in the Web of Science with at least one West African-based address. We found that at the regional level, the university is the biggest knowledge producer followed by the government and industry in that order; however, at the national level, the government is the biggest information producer in majority of countries. The industrial sector output is weak both at the regional level and individual country level. It is even null in some countries. Mutual information indicated the existence of synergy between the three actors, both at the regional and national levels. However, its value is too low to allow for knowledge circulating fluently among actors.
Research papers that studied the Triple Helix in relation to international co-authorship considered international collaboration as the fourth element of the system. This paper suggests considering three levels of study to assess the effect of international collaboration on an innovation system: the domestic one, the foreign one and the global one. The mutual information and the transmission power are used as indicators. Bibliographic data of South Korea and the West African region for a 10-year period (2001–2010) were downloaded and imported to a bibliographic software application. Searches are run to determine the Triple Helix actors and their bi- or trilateral collaboration contributions per considered area, year and level. Then, the mutual information and the transmission power were computed. Results show that at the domestic level, the South Korean innovation system is more integrated, whereas the West African one is less integrated than that of their partners. Results also show that international collaboration has strengthened knowledge sharing at the domestic level for both South Korea and West Africa, but to a different extent; in other words, the two areas have benefited from international collaboration in terms of knowledge flow.
Synergy within a Triple Helix innovation system has been measured in relevant literature using mutual information and transmission power, all based on Shannon’s information theory. However, as a complex system, Triple Helix relationships may also be analysed with various techniques and tools from other disciplines among which game theory. Thus, the synergy may be measured with indicators like the core, the Shapley value and the nucleolus. The core measures the extent of the synergy, the Shapley value indicates an actor’s strength to lead to and create synergy and the nucleolus determines an actor’s strength to maintain synergy. The Triple Helix innovation systems of eight countries among which four developed—USA, UK, Germany and France—and four emerging—Russia, India, Brazil and China—were analysed based on their scientific output using game theory. It appears that the biggest Triple Helix science producer has more power to lead to and create synergy; government shows solidarity to maintain synergy within the innovation system. The level of synergy is higher in developing countries (led by France, 1.7–2%) than in emerging ones (led by Brazil, less than or equal to 1%), operating a division of selected countries according to their level of development. The study shows that state intervention in the economy influences the position of the core on a ternary diagram.