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Is Science A Case of Wasteful Competition?

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  • Hendrik P. van Dalen
  • Arjo Klamer

Abstract

Science is a winner-take-all profession in which only a few contributions get excessive attention and the large majority of papers receive scant or no attention. This so-called 'waste', together with all the competitive strategies of scientists seeking attention, is part and parcel of every creative profession and not a worrisome fact, as the price society pays for human ingenuity is extremely small: 0.0006 percent of world income goes into the publication of scientific research. The more worrisome features of competition in academic economics do not reveal themselves through ordinary citation or publication statistics or competitive attention seeking strategies, like starting fads and networking. Badly designed uses of market principles, in which citations and publications have become the sole measuring rod of scientific 'productivity', deserve more attention instead of the excessive focus on being uncited. To detect the real story of scientific progress, or to judge academic work, 'reality economics' or 'learning by asking and watching' should complement citation and publication statistics. Copyright 2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Kyklos.

Volume (Year): 58 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (07)
Pages: 395-414

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Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:58:y:2005:i:3:p:395-414

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Cited by:
  1. Ho Fai Chan & Bruno S. Frey & Jana Gallus & Benno Torgler, 2013. "Does The John Bates Clark Medal Boost Subsequent Productivity And Citation Success?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2013-02, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  2. João Ricardo Faria, 2010. "Most Cited Articles Published in Brazilian Journals of Economics: Google Scholar Rankings," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 11(1), pages 1_25.
  3. Gianfranco Di Vaio & Daniel Waldenström & Jacob Weisdorf, 2011. "Citation Success: Evidence from Economic History Journal Publications," Working Papers 0017, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  4. Besancenot, Damien & Faria, Joao Ricardo & Vranceanu, Radu, 2008. "Why Business Schools Do So Much Research: A Signaling Explanation," ESSEC Working Papers DR 08002, ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School.
  5. João Faria & Rajeev Goel, 2010. "Returns to networking in academia," Netnomics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 103-117, July.
  6. Mario A. Maggioni & T. Erika Uberti & Francesca Gambarotto, 2009. "Mapping the Evolution of "Clusters": A Meta-analysis," Working Papers 2009.74, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  7. Berg, Nathan & Faria, Joao, 2008. "Negatively correlated author seniority and the number of acknowledged people: Name-recognition as a signal of scientific merit?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1234-1247, June.

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