Northwestern University

To consolidate, coordinate, and communicate research on the science of science by establishing both an annual international conference and a multidisciplinary professional society

  • Amount $499,988
  • City Evanston, IL
  • Investigator Dashun Wang
  • Initiative Economic Analysis of Science and Technology (EAST)
  • Year 2021
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance

The science of science is a burgeoning new multidisciplinary field that is attempting to rigorously measure and study the factors that drive scientific innovation and productivity.  Drawing from economics, public policy, sociology, history, management science, and information systems theory, researchers working in the science of science explore questions like: Can (just barely) failing to receive a big research grant be better for one’s career than winning one? Are some ways of structuring work in a lab more conducive to higher productivity than others? Can the decay rate of a scientific paper’s citations be predicted well enough to help measure the long-term impact and influence of relatively new work? And do great discoveries arrive randomly during a scientific career, or are there “hot streaks?” This sprawling new research community crosses departmental, methodological, and international boundaries.  Progress will require this community to coalesce around common standards, structures, norms, and infrastructure—particularly regarding data resources.  This grant funds efforts by Dashun Wang, director of Northwestern University’s Center for the Science of Science and Innovation, to help build community within and among science of science researchers.  Grant funds will be used to launch an annual international conference hosted by the National Academy of Sciences in 2022, planning activities for the launch of a new scholarly society dedicated to the Science of Science, and a small program of seed grants and research prizes designed to encourage diversity, data sharing, methodological training, and mentoring.

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