Changing scientific incentives can help overcome stagnation

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Key problem: Science after WWII has stagnated, this can be seen by the lower GDP growth in both developed and developing nations. Assuming science is responsible for increasing productivity and efficiency, lower growth means lower scientific output.

Under this assumption, it is fair to explore possible causes for this stagnation. After WWII scientific funding shifted its approach to have a quantifiable output, which gives rise to the problems with citation-based metrics. It is possible to argue that funding itself has fueled the problem because citations make science conservative, and overall there is a clear problem of quantifying performance using multiple measurements.

In the lifecycle of a sicentific idea, the scientific exploration and play has a crucial role to further extend knowledge. Therefore, if we could measure the exploration factor of research and use that metric instead of purely counting citations, we could incentivize the creative development of new ideas[@bhattacharya2020Stagnation and Scientific Incentives]. However, this is without acknowledging that quantitative performance measurements produce undesired outputs.

Tags: #scientific-management #science-funding


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Aquiles Carattino
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