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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hendrik P. Van Dalen & Arjo Klamer, 2005. "Is Science A Case of Wasteful Competition?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 395-414, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:58:y:2005:i:3:p:395-414
    DOI: 10.1111/j.0023-5962.2005.00294.x
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0023-5962.2005.00294.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sanjeev Goyal & Marco J. van der Leij & José Luis Moraga-Gonzalez, 2006. "Economics: An Emerging Small World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 403-432, April.
    2. Hendrik P. van Dalen & K?ne Henkens, 2005. "Signals in science - On the importance of signaling in gaining attention in science," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 64(2), pages 209-233, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Seeber, Marco & Cattaneo, Mattia & Meoli, Michele & Malighetti, Paolo, 2019. "Self-citations as strategic response to the use of metrics for career decisions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 478-491.
    2. Ho Fai Chan & Bruno S. Frey & Jana Gallus & Benno Torgler, 2013. "Does the John Bates Clark Medal boost subsequent productivity and citation success?," ECON - Working Papers 111, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    3. João Ricardo Faria & Rajeev K. Goel, 2016. "Academic Publication Uncertainty and Publishing Behavior: A Game-Theoretic Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 6176, CESifo.
    4. Besancenot, Damien & Faria, Joao Ricardo & Vranceanu, Radu, 2009. "Why business schools do so much research: A signaling explanation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1093-1101, September.
    5. 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.
    6. David W. Johnston & Marco Piatti & Benno Torgler, 2013. "Citation success over time: theory or empirics?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 95(3), pages 1023-1029, June.
    7. Mund, Carolin & Neuhäusler, Peter, 2015. "Towards an early-stage identification of emerging topics in science—The usability of bibliometric characteristics," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 1018-1033.
    8. João Faria & Rajeev Goel, 2010. "Returns to networking in academia," Netnomics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 103-117, July.
    9. Di Vaio, Gianfranco & Waldenström, Daniel & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2012. "Citation success: Evidence from economic history journal publications," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 92-104.
    10. João Ricardo Faria, 2010. "Most Cited Articles Published in Brazilian Journals of Economics: Google Scholar Rankings," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 11(1), pages 1-25.
    11. Chan, Ho Fai & Frey, Bruno S. & Gallus, Jana & Torgler, Benno, 2014. "Academic honors and performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 188-204.
    12. Peder Olesen Larsen & Markus Ins, 2010. "The rate of growth in scientific publication and the decline in coverage provided by Science Citation Index," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 84(3), pages 575-603, September.
    13. 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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