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The Impact of Information Technology on Academic Scientists' Productivity and Collaboration Patterns

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Author Info

  • Waverly W. Ding

    ()
    (Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720)

  • Sharon G. Levin

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri 63121)

  • Paula E. Stephan

    ()
    (Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and NBER, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30302)

  • Anne E. Winkler

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri 63121)

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of information technology (IT) on productivity and collaboration patterns in academe. Our data combine information on the diffusion of two noteworthy innovations in IT--BITNET and the Domain Name System (DNS)--with career-history data on research-active life scientists. We analyzed a random sample of 3,114 research-active life scientists from 314 U.S. institutions over a 25-year period and find that the availability of BITNET on a scientist's campus has a positive effect on his or her productivity and collaborative network. Our findings also support the hypothesis of a differential effect of IT across subgroups of the scientific labor force. Women scientists and those working at nonelite institutions benefit more from the availability of IT in terms of overall research output and an increase in the number of new coauthors they work with than do men or individuals at elite institutions. These results suggest that IT is an equalizing force, providing a greater boost to productivity and more collaboration opportunities for scientists who are more marginally positioned in academe.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1195
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 56 (2010)
Issue (Month): 9 (September)
Pages: 1439-1461

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:56:y:2010:i:9:p:1439-1461

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Related research

Keywords: diffusion; innovation; technology; life sciences; professional labor markets; gender;

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Cited by:
  1. Carillo, Maria Rosaria & Papagni, Erasmo & Sapio, Alessandro, 2013. "Do collaborations enhance the high-quality output of scientific institutions? Evidence from the Italian Research Assessment Exercise," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 25-36.
  2. Chris Forman & Avi Goldfarb & Shane Greenstein, 2014. "Information Technology and the Distribution of Inventive Activity," NBER Chapters, in: The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Giuseppe Scellato & Chiara Franzoni & Paula Stephan, 2012. "Mobile Scientists and International Networks," NBER Working Papers 18613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Henry Sauermann & Michael Roach, 2011. "Not All Scientists pay to be Scientists:," DRUID Working Papers 11-03, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  5. Winkler Anne E. & Glanzel Wolfang & Levin Sharon & Stephan Paula, 2011. "The Diffusion of Information Technology and the Increased Propensity of Teams to Transcend Institutional and National Borders," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201110, University of Turin.
  6. Chris Forman & Nicolas van Zeebroeck, 2012. "From Wires to Partners: How the Internet Has Fostered R&D Collaborations Within Firms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(8), pages 1549-1568, August.
  7. Бьянкани С. & Макфарланд Д., 2013. "Значение Социальных Сетей В Высшем Образовании (Пер.С Англ. Н. Микшиной)," Вопросы образования // Educational Studies, НИУ ВШЭ, issue 4, pages 85-126.
  8. Murayama, Kota & Nirei, Makoto & Shimizu, Hiroshi, 2013. "Management of Science, Serendipity, and Research Performance: Evidence from Scientists' Survey," IIR Working Paper 13-13, Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  9. Winkler, Anne E. & Levin, Sharon & Stephan, Paula & Glänzel, Wolfgang, 2011. "Publishing Trends in Economics across Colleges and Universities, 1991-2007," IZA Discussion Papers 6082, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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