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Three Ways To Become An Academic Superstar

Heesen, Remco (2014) Three Ways To Become An Academic Superstar. [Preprint]

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It is well-known that some scientists are more prominent than others. But what makes one scientist more prominent than another? I propose a possible mechanism that produces differences in prominence: scientists' desire for information. In a model of a scientific community exchanging information, I show that this mechanism indeed produces the kind of patterns of prominence that are actually observed. I discuss the implications of this result for three possible explanations of an individual scientist's prominence: an explanation based on scientific merit, an explanation based on epistemically irrelevant factors (e.g., gender bias or charisma), and an explanation based on epistemic luck. Depending on which of these explanations is correct one may draw different conclusions about a scientist based on prominence. I discuss policy recommendations that result from this, including suggestions about when it is appropriate to use measures of prominence (e.g., citation metrics) in giving out grants and awards.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: Philosophy of science; Social structure of science; Citation metrics; Sequential decision problems; Agent-based modeling; Network theory
Subjects: General Issues > Decision Theory
General Issues > Science and Policy
Depositing User: Remco Heesen
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2014 02:13
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2023 13:10
Item ID: 10546
Subjects: General Issues > Decision Theory
General Issues > Science and Policy
Date: 3 March 2014

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