Notes on the Paradigm Crisis

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Re: Notes on the Paradigm Crisis

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:53 pm


Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?

December 2, 2015
We study the extent to which eminent scientists shape the vitality of their fields by examining
entry rates into the fields of 452 academic life scientists who pass away while at the peak of
their scientific abilities. Key to our analyses is a novel way to delineate boundaries around
scientific fields by appealing solely to intellectual linkages between scientists and their publications,
rather than collaboration or co-citation patterns. Consistent with previous research,
the flow of articles by collaborators into affected fields decreases precipitously after the death
of a star scientist (relative to control fields). In contrast, we find that the flow of articles by
non-collaborators increases by 8% on average. These additional contributions are disproportionately
likely to be highly cited. They are also more likely to be authored by scientists who
were not previously active in the deceased superstar’s field. Overall, these results suggest that
outsiders are reluctant to challenge leadership within a field when the star is alive and that
a number of barriers may constrain entry even after she is gone. Intellectual, social, and resource
barriers all impede entry, with outsiders only entering subfields that offer a less hostile
landscape for the support and acceptance of “foreign” ideas.

Keywords: economics of science, scientific fields, superstars, invisible college, cumulative
knowledge production.
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Re: Notes on the Paradigm Crisis

Postby Iamwhomiam » Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:14 pm

Not going to read it, but it sure sounds logical to conclude that science does indeed advance one or two funerals at a time.
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