In transdisciplinarity extra-academic agents, their viewpoints, expertise, or forms of knowledge are included in scientific research. The aim is to intensify science-society relations, and to give the users and beneficiaries of knowledge a role in questions of its production. This is frequently referred to as 'co-production' or 'Mode 2 science', and has recently been discussed as an important element of 'open science'. Researchers break both disciplinary boundaries and the customary boundaries of science in order to produce socially relevant knowledge, and offer solutions to multifaceted, complex, or wicked problems.
Collaboration with private enterprises and other utilisers of knowledge is nothing new in many academic fields. Philosophers have argued that commercialisation has changed research practices in ways that potentially undermine the conditions for producing trustworthy knowledge. When driven by commercial interests, 'co-production' of knowledge between academic and extra-academic agents may lead to secrecy in science, thus preventing critical assessments and decreasing the trustworthiness of the results. However, commercial collaborations are now often understood in transdisciplinary terms, and the discourse on transdisciplinarity has brought about new meanings to them. Transparency and openness are emphasised in the transdisciplinary literature. There is a strong tension between the push towards secrecy in commercialised research and the emphasis on openness in transdisciplinarity. On what conditions could transdisciplinarity increase openness in scientific research that serves commercial purposes?