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Participation in university-based research centers: Is it helping or hurting researchers?


  • Sabharwal, Meghna
  • Hu, Qian


In general, affiliation with a university research center is considered to be an activity that can improve the research activities of scientists and academics. Yet there have only been a few studies examining whether research centers are positive institutional structures for individual researchers. Our research examines how affiliation with a research center in the United States can impact research productivity, collaboration, and careers of faculty members in the multidisciplinary field of learning sciences. This study utilizes data from a curriculum vitae (CV) analysis of 402 faculty members who are currently employed at research universities. The results indicate that, on average, the research productivity of faculty members affiliated with a research center is higher than non-center affiliated faculty members. The effects, however, disappear when controlling for factors such as years since Ph.D., gender, post-doctoral status, quality of publications, and quantity of other research outputs. Senior tenured faculty members appear to benefit greatly from affiliation with a research center, while center affiliation does not positively correlate with the productivity of junior faculty members.

Suggested Citation

  • Sabharwal, Meghna & Hu, Qian, 2013. "Participation in university-based research centers: Is it helping or hurting researchers?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1301-1311.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:42:y:2013:i:6:p:1301-1311
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2013.03.005

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Bolger, 0. "A study of faculty perceptions and engagement with interdisciplinary research in university sustainability institutes," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 0, pages 1-15.
    2. Curado, Carla & Henriques, Paulo Lopes & Oliveira, Mírian & Matos, Pedro Verga, 2016. "A fuzzy-set analysis of hard and soft sciences publication performance," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5348-5353.
    3. Paulo Lopes Henriques & Carla Curado & Mírian Oliveira & Antônio Carlos Gastaud Maçada, 2019. "Publishing? You can count on knowledge, experience, and expectations," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 1301-1324, May.
    4. Leahey, Erin & Barringer, Sondra N., 2020. "Universities’ commitment to interdisciplinary research: To what end?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(2).
    5. Bäker, Agnes, 2015. "Non-tenured post-doctoral researchers’ job mobility and research output: An analysis of the role of research discipline, department size, and coauthors," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 634-650.
    6. Erin Leahey & Sondra N. Barringer & Misty Ring-Ramirez, 2019. "Universities’ structural commitment to interdisciplinary research," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 118(3), pages 891-919, March.
    7. Kevin M. Kniffin & Andrew S. Hanks, 2017. "Antecedents and near-term consequences for interdisciplinary dissertators," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 111(3), pages 1225-1250, June.
    8. Chih-Hung Yuan & Yenchun Jim Wu & Kune-muh Tsai, 2019. "Supply Chain Innovation in Scientific Research Collaboration," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(3), pages 1-12, January.


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