Credit History: The Changing Nature of Scientific Credit

Joshua S. Gans, Fiona Murray

This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy, Adam Jaffe and Benjamin Jones, editors
Conference held August 2-3, 2013
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press

This paper considers the role of the allocation of scientific credit in determining the organization of science. We examine changes in that organization and the nature of credit allocation in the past half century. Our contribution is a formal model of that organizational choice that considers scientist decisions to integrate, collaborate or publish and how credit could be allocated to foster efficient outcomes. First, we focus briefly on economic and sociological perspectives on the nature of scientific credit. We then develop our perspective on the core organizational choices made by scientists as a way of motivating the central importance of scientific credit in the ways in which knowledge production is organized. We then present our "credit history" - how the institutions and norms of scientific credit have changed over the past fifty years. We do so by exploring three debates that have animated the scientific community over the past fifty years. Building on the qualitative insights from the past fifty years, we lay out a formal model that places credit allocation alongside the changing technical costs and knowledge burden of research to explore the relative importance of these three factors.

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This paper was revised on July 17, 2014

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This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w19538, Credit History: The Changing Nature of Scientific Credit, Joshua S. Gans, Fiona Murray
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