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Is Science A Case of Wasteful Competition?

  • Hendrik P. van Dalen
  • Arjo Klamer

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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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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