Online Accessibility of Academic Articles and the Diversity of Economics
University of Zurich Department of Economics Working Paper No. 75
52 Pages Posted: 18 May 2012
Date Written: May 9, 2012
A key aspect of generating new ideas is drawing from different elements of preexisting knowledge and combining them into a new idea. In such a process, the diversity of ideas plays a central role. This paper examines the empirical question of how the internet affected the diversity of new research by making the existing literature accessible online. The internet marks a technological shock which affects how academic scientists search for and browse through published documents. Using article-level data from economics journals for the period 1991 to 2009, we document how online accessibility lead academic economists to draw from a more diverse set of literature, and to write articles which incorporated more diverse contents.
Keywords: Digitization, online publication, bibliometrics, knowledge production function, recombinant growth, citations, networks, scholarly communication
JEL Classification: A11, D83, O31, O33
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