nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2018‒06‒25
two papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Axventure AB

  1. Socioeconomic driving forces of scientific research By Mario Coccia
  2. The Research Excellence Framework 2014, journal ratings and the marginalization of heterodox economics By Engelbert Stockhammer; Quirin Dammerer; Sukriti Kapur

  1. By: Mario Coccia
    Abstract: Why do nations produce scientific research? This is a fundamental problem in the field of social studies of science. The paper confronts this question here by showing vital determinants of science to explain the sources of social power and wealth creation by nations. Firstly, this study suggests a new general definition of science and scientific research that synthetizes previous concepts and endeavors to extend them: Science discovers the root causes of phenomena to explain and predict them in a context of adaptation of life to new economic and social bases, whereas scientific research is a systematic process, applying methods of scientific inquiry, to solve consequential problems, to satisfy human wants, to take advantage of important opportunities and/or to cope with environmental threats. In particular, science and scientific research are driven by an organized social effort that inevitably reflect the concerns and interests of nations to achieve advances and discoveries that are spread to the rest of humankind. This study reveals that scientific research is produced for social and economic interests of nations (power, wealth creation, technological superiority, etc.), rather than philosophical inquiries. A main implication of this study is that the immense growth of science in modern society is not only due to activity of scientists but rather to general social efforts of nations to take advantage of important opportunities and/or to cope with environmental threats, such as war. Empirical evidence endeavors to support the sources of scientific research for nations, described here. Finally, relationships between R&D investment and productivity, and research policy implications are discussed.
    Date: 2018–06
  2. By: Engelbert Stockhammer (Kingston University); Quirin Dammerer; Sukriti Kapur
    Abstract: The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the main research assessment for universities in the UK. It informs university league tables and the allocation of government research funding. This paper analyses the evaluations of the REF 2014 for Economics, Business, Politics and History. We analyse, first, from which journals, articles have been submitted; second, to what extent journal ratings and impact factors predict the REF´s evaluations; third, how many articles from heterodox economics journals have been submitted. We find that a small group of journals dominate the outputs submitted. Journal ratings and impact factors explain 86 to 89% of the variation in the output evaluations for Economics. These values are lower but still substantial for other disciplines. Few papers from heterodox economics journals were submitted to Economics. Overall, the REF in its present form marginalises heterodox economics, pushes it out of the discipline and endangers pluralism in economics research.
    Keywords: research assessment, Research Excellence Framework, journal impact factors, journal ratings, pluralism, heterodox economics
    JEL: A14 A20 B50
    Date: 2017–11

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