Report: Diversity Strengthens Publications

US scientists are more likely to coauthor papers with researchers of similar ethnicity to themselves, but manuscripts with a more diverse list of authors have greater impact, a study shows.

By | February 25, 2014

FLICKR, G23ARMSTRONGScientists of similar ethnicity coauthor with one another more frequently than expected by chance, and this trend could be detrimental, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper out this month. Richard Freeman and Wei Huang of Harvard University examined the ethnic identities of more than 1.5 million authors on scientific papers published in the U.S. between 1985 and 2008. Taking into account citations and journal impact factors, the duo concluded that “diversity in inputs into papers leads to greater contributions to science.”

Freeman told Inside Higher Ed that the study’s results indicate a need to encourage early career researchers to collaborate with a diverse group of scientists. “We would stress getting people to meet others by presenting papers at meetings,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Advisers especially of postdocs should make sure the postdocs get out to present papers.”

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