Exploring Tradeoffs in the Organization of Scientific Work: Collaboration and Scientific Reward
44 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2013 Last revised: 9 Apr 2014
Date Written: April 8, 2014
When do scientists and other innovators organize into collaborative teams, and why do they do so for some projects and not others? At the core of this important organizational choice is, we argue, a tradeoff scientists make between the productive efficiency of collaboration and the credit allocation that arises after the completion of collaborative work. In this paper, we explore this tradeoff by developing a model to structure our understanding of the factors shaping researcher collaborative choices, in particular the implicit allocation of credit among participants in scientific projects. We then use the annual research activity of 661 faculty scientists at MIT over a 30-year period to explore the tradeoff between collaboration and reward at the individual faculty level and to infer critical parameters in the collaborative organization of scientific work.
Keywords: Knowledge Work, Collaboration, Academic Science, Productivity, Scientific Credit
JEL Classification: O32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation