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Making time for science

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  • Barham, Bradford L.
  • Foltz, Jeremy D.
  • Prager, Daniel L.
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    Abstract

    This work analyzes the evolution of time allocation for agricultural and life science faculty in Tier 1 US research universities from 1975 to 2005. Specifically, it explores the trends with respect to time spent on research versus administrative activities, and shows about a 20% decline in the former and doubling of time spent on the latter. Most of the research time decline is accounted for by increased pre and post-grant administrative efforts and other non-research administrative activities rather than changes in teaching activity. Despite the substantial decrease in time available for research, other key research inputs and overall journal article output per faculty have remained relatively stable over that same time period. These findings raise important concerns regarding whether faculty time is being used sub-optimally relative to other ways in which administrative activities might be completed and scholarly activity might be advanced.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

    Volume (Year): 43 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 21-31

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:43:y:2014:i:1:p:21-31

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

    Related research

    Keywords: Faculty time allocation; Research time; University administration; Research productivity;

    References

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    1. Rebecca Henderson & Adam Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 1995. "Universities as a Source of Commercial Technology: A Detailed Analysis of University Patenting 1965-1988," NBER Working Papers 5068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Levin, Sharon G & Stephan, Paula E, 1991. "Research Productivity over the Life Cycle: Evidence for Academic Scientists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 114-32, March.
    3. Huffman, Wallace E. & Evenson, Robert E., 2006. "Science for Agriculture: A Long Term Perspective," Staff General Research Papers 12362, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    4. Ding, Waverly W. & Levin, Sharon G. & Stephan, Paula E. & Winkler, Ann E., 2009. "The Impact of Information Technology on Scientists’ Productivity, Quality and Collaboration Patterns," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt80n3512q, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    5. Waverly W. Ding & Sharon G. Levin & Paula E. Stephan & Anne E. Winkler, 2009. "The Impact of Information Technology on Scientists' Productivity, Quality and Collaboration Patterns," NBER Working Papers 15285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. David N. Laband & Robert D. Tollison, 2003. "Dry Holes in Economic Research," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 161-173, 05.
    7. Paula Stephan & Jennifer Ma, 2005. "The Increased Frequency and Duration of the Postdoctorate Career Stage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 71-75, May.
    8. Cynthia L. Harter & William E. Becker & Michael Watts, 2011. "Time Allocations and Reward Structures for US Academic Economists from 1955–2005: Evidence from Three National Surveys," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 10(2), pages 6-27.
    9. Auranen, Otto & Nieminen, Mika, 2010. "University research funding and publication performance--An international comparison," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 822-834, July.
    10. Benjamin F. Jones, 2009. "The Burden of Knowledge and the "Death of the Renaissance Man": Is Innovation Getting Harder?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 283-317.
    11. Ajay K. Agrawal & Avi Goldfarb, 2006. "Restructuring Research: Communication Costs and the Democratization of University Innovation," NBER Working Papers 12812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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