Two independent studies find mobility of researchers results in better science

October 5, 2017 by Bob Yirka report
Credit: (c) Nature 550, 32–33 (05 October 2017) doi:10.1038/550032a

(—Two teams of researchers working independently have come to roughly the same conclusion: Researchers that are free to move between countries produce results that are more creative and innovative than do those that stay at home. The first team led by Cassidy Sugimto of Indiana University has published a Comment piece in the journal Nature describing their study of citation rates of researchers who travel versus those who do not. The second group, made up of the two researchers Caroline Wagner with Ohio State University and Koen Joners with the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Brussels offer their findings regarding comparing the scientific influence of researchers by country in a Comment piece in the same journal edition.

Common sense suggests that scientists who collaborate with partners with varied backgrounds are likely to have more success in finding innovative and creative solutions to scientific problems than are those who face travel or cultural restrictions. Now, it has been demonstrated statistically.

In the first effort, the researchers analyzed 14 million published in journals through the years 2008 to 2015, which included approximately 16 million researchers. In so doing, they discovered that approximately 4 percent of those researchers listed as authors could be classified as mobile—meaning they were cited in papers with teams in different . They further discovered that these mobile researchers had 40 percent higher than did non-travelers. The team also noted that North America and Northern Europe attracted researchers from other countries more so than other regions.

In the second effort, the researchers compared science expenditures between countries by analyzing 2.5 million published research papers from 2013 with in 36 countries. They also looked at the mobility of international co-authorships of the research workforce in general. They report that open countries tend to produce science that they describe as both more creative and innovative than do countries that have closed borders (as measured by citations). They note also that some countries, most notably Singapore and Switzerland, have outsized influence (scientific impact versus population size) due to their international relationships. They found that others, such as South Korea, are having less of an impact despite spending a lot of money on research, likely because of their limited number of international collaborations.

Explore further: International collaborations produce more influential science, analysis finds

More information: Cassidy R. Sugimoto et al. Scientists have most impact when they're free to move, Nature (2017). DOI: 10.1038/550029a

Caroline S. Wagner et al. Open countries have strong science, Nature (2017). DOI: 10.1038/550032a

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1 / 5 (3) Oct 05, 2017
They seem to be avoiding a point commonly made by academic whistleblowers ...

The Twilight of the Scientific Age
Martín López Corredoira

"From my own experiences and those of others, I have observed that doors are opened and offers made to those who are servile and uncritical. A lot of work must be produced, but without any great aspiration towards saying something important. To obtain an academic position, to obtain tenure, to be successful in obtaining research funds, etc. it is necessary to conform."
1 / 5 (1) Oct 05, 2017
This was hidden?
Da Schneib
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 05, 2017
Open science rules. Get over it.
1 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2017
"The system of refereeing technical articles before publication (and I myself have acted as a referee) is a system of censorship, the censor having no training in how to differentiate between 'wrong' and 'heretical'."

- Ivor Catt
1 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2017
"'Peer-review', such as it is now practiced in mainstream publications, only exists to the detriment of science. Instead of a source of creation or invention, it is a source of conformity. Little wonder that C.D. Darlington, like a veritable Prof. Challenger, quipped during the Conway Memorial Lecture, that in science 'we need a regulated source of annoyance, a destroyer of routine, an underminer of complacency.'"

- Paulo N. Correa, Death By Peer-Review
1 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2017
"The peer review system, by definition, works to maintain the status quo. In most universities, professors do not even talk to each other. They are content to allow a strict division of expertise, where no challenges are ever created."

- James McCanney, Aeon Vol 2. No. 5
1 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2017
"You could write the entire history of science in the last 50 years in terms of papers rejected by Science or Nature."

- Paul C. Lauterbur, winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine, whose seminal paper on magnetic resonance imaging was originally rejected by Nature
1 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2017
"In the 19th century Darwin, for example, put forward radical ideas. He didn't have to deal with the science establishment because most science then was done by amateurs like him. He never had an academic post. He didn't have a government grant. He worked as an independent scientist from his country home in Kent, and he could say what he liked. Nowadays there are very few scientists who have that independence. Younger ones are dependent on short-term contracts and on the patronage of their superiors which makes them very frightened -- very conservative -- very afraid to step out of line ..."

1 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2017

"... More senior scientists are dependent on the flow of grants and funds which depends on yet higher up people in the science establishment approving their work and thinking they are good chaps and so on. And the effect of all this is to make people extraordinarily frightened of stepping out of line. Science, in its ideology, sees itself as doing fearless exploration of the unknown. Most of the time it's a fearful exploration of the almost known."

- Rupert Sheldrake
1 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2017
Article: "Two teams of researchers working independently have come to roughly the same conclusion: Researchers that are free to move between countries produce results that are more creative and innovative than do those that stay at home."

Yes, it seems that it must be true. But, this is like the fire meme where the guy says everything is fine. The academic whistleblowers are pointing to infrastructure problems with science's informational backbone. It's akin to a bug in the operating system.

Fixing this travel problem is probably not the most important thing happening right now which affects creativity and innovation.

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