Q&A: How to study scientists

Scientists spend their time trying to uncover the most effective and efficient techniques and their impact on research, but what about the most effective and efficient scientists, and how they impact the field? linkurl:Pierre Azoulay;http://pazoulay.scripts.mit.edu/ of MIT's Sloan School of Management talked with The Scientist about his work on what influences the productivity of scientific researchers, and how productive scientists can, in turn, influence the scientific community. Image: Wiki

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Jul 13, 2010
Scientists spend their time trying to uncover the most effective and efficient techniques and their impact on research, but what about the most effective and efficient scientists, and how they impact the field? linkurl:Pierre Azoulay;http://pazoulay.scripts.mit.edu/ of MIT's Sloan School of Management talked with The Scientist about his work on what influences the productivity of scientific researchers, and how productive scientists can, in turn, influence the scientific community.
Image: Wikimedia commons,
Robert Scoble
The Scientist: How do you measure scientific productivity? Pierre Azoulay: Badly. The [measures] are proxies -- things like counts of publications, of patents, of citations to those publications or to those patents. [But] those measures are really proxies for what we care about, [which] are basically important ideas. So we're often multiple steps removed from innovation, and even many more steps removed from actual economic growth. TS: In a linkurl:recent study;http://pazoulay.scripts.mit.edu/pubs/extinction_qje.pdf published in the Quarterly...
TS:Quarterly Journal of EconomicsPA:TS:PA:TS:PA:TS:PA:



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