nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2020‒04‒20
two papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Axventure AB

  1. Self-Citation, Cumulative Advantage, and Gender Inequality in Science By Pierre Azoulay; Freda B. Lynn
  2. What matters in funding: The value of research coherence and alignment in evaluators' decisions By Ayoubi, Charles; Barbosu, Sandra; Pezzoni, Michele; Visentin, Fabiana

  1. By: Pierre Azoulay; Freda B. Lynn
    Abstract: In science, self-citation is often interpreted as an act of self-promotion that (artificially) boosts the visibility of one’s prior work in the short term, which could then inflate professional authority in the long term. Recently, in light of research on the gender gap in self-promotion, two, large-scale studies of publications examine if women self-cite less than men. But they arrive at conflicting conclusions; one concludes yes whereas the other, no. We join the debate with an original study of 36 cohorts of life scientists (1970–2005) followed through 2015 (or death or retirement). We track not only the rate of self-citation per unit of past productivity, but also the likelihood of self-citing intellectually distant material and the rate of return on self-citations with respect to a host of major career outcomes, including grants, future citations, and job changes. With comprehensive, longitudinal data, we find no evidence whatsoever of a gender gap in self-citation practices or returns. Men may very well be more aggressive self-promoters than women, but this dynamic does not manifest in our sample with respect to self-citation practices. Implications of our null findings are discussed, particularly with respect to gender inequality in scientific careers more broadly.
    JEL: I23 J16 O31
    Date: 2020–03
  2. By: Ayoubi, Charles (EPFL - Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne); Barbosu, Sandra (; Pezzoni, Michele (Université Côte d’Azur/CNRS/GREDEG, Nice, OST-HCERES, Paris, and ICRIOS, Bocconi University, Milan); Visentin, Fabiana (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Entrepreneurs, managers, and scientists participate in competitive selection processes to obtain resources. The project they propose is a crucial aspect of their success. In this paper, we focus on the selection of scientists applying for academic funding by submitting a research proposal. We argue that two core dimensions of the research proposal affect the probability of funding success: its coherence with the applicant's previous work, and its alignment with subjects of general interest for the scientific community. Employing a neural network algorithm, we analyse the text of 2,494 research proposals for a prestigious fellowship awarded to promising early-stage North American researchers. We find field-specific heterogeneity in the committees' evaluations. In life sciences and chemistry, evaluators value the research proposal's coherence positively with the scientist's recent work and the proposals' alignment with the current subject of general interest for the scientific community. Conversely, in physics, evaluators give more weight to bibliometric indicators and less to the proposal coherence and alignment. Our results can be extended beyond the academic context to managerial implications in cases such as entrepreneurs and managers submitting project proposals to investors
    Keywords: Research trajectories, research funding, coherence, alignment
    JEL: I23 O32 O38
    Date: 2020–03–24

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