A Burden of Knowledge Creation in Academic Research: Evidence from Publication Data
40 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2017 Last revised: 12 Nov 2019
Date Written: November 9, 2019
Academic research is vital for innovation and industrial growth. However, a potential burden of processing ever more knowledge could be affecting research output and researchers' careers. We look at a dataset of researchers who have published in journals in the field of economics during a period of 45 years. For a subset of these researchers, we amass data from journals listed in the EconLit database, supplemented with years of birth from public sources. Our results show an increase in the age of researchers at their first publication, in the number of articles referenced in debut articles, and in the number of coauthors. Simultaneously, we observe a decline in the probability of researchers changing research fields. Our findings extend earlier findings on patents and hint at a burden of knowledge pervading different areas of human progress. Moreover, our results indicate that researchers develop strategies of specialisation to deal with this challenge.
Keywords: knowledge creation; academic research; researcher age; team size; references; specialisation
JEL Classification: A11, D83, J24, O31
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