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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..

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
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. João Faria & Rajeev Goel, 2010. "Returns to networking in academia," Netnomics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 103-117, July.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. João Ricardo Faria & Rajeev K. Goel, 2016. "Academic Publication Uncertainty and Publishing Behavior: A Game-Theoretic Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 6176, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. 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.
    10. Chan, Ho Fai & Frey, Bruno S. & Gallus, Jana & Torgler, Benno, 2014. "Academic honors and performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 188-204.
    11. repec:spr:scient:v:84:y:2010:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-010-0202-z is not listed on IDEAS
    12. 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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