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The concept of open innovation has successfully diffused in academia as well as in industry. However, criticisms have at the same time been raised regarding the lack of a precise definition and also similar past research has not been sufficiently recognized. This paper highlights two perspectives of openness related to innovation – open as ‘libre’ versus ‘controlled’ – arguing that they rest on different underlying assumptions and theoretical foundations related to knowledge and value production. The paper concludes that the general research on ‘open innovation’ implicitly utilizes both perspectives, which tends to give a somewhat fragmented and incoherent perception of what open innovation is and how it should be applied in practice.