Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
- Chair: Bruce Weinberg, Ohio State University
Science is Shaped by Wikipedia: Evidence From a Randomized Control Trial
Abstract“I sometimes think that general and popular treatises are almost as important for the progress of science as original work.” - Charles Darwin, 1865
As the largest encyclopedia in the world, it is not surprising that Wikipedia reflects the state of scientific knowledge. However, Wikipedia is also one of the most accessed websites in the world, including by scientists, which suggests that it also has the potential to shape science. This paper shows that it does.
Incorporating ideas into Wikipedia leads to those ideas being used more in the scientific literature. We provide correlational evidence of this across thousands of Wikipedia articles and causal evidence of it through a randomized control trial where we add new scientific content to Wikipedia. We find that the causal impact is strong, with Wikipedia influencing roughly one in every 830 words in related scientific journal articles. We also find causal evidence that the scientific articles referenced in Wikipedia receive more citations, suggesting that Wikipedia complements the traditional journal system by pointing researchers to key underlying scientific articles.
Our findings speak not only to the influence of Wikipedia, but more broadly to the influence of repositories of scientific knowledge and the role that they play in the creation of scientific knowledge.
Empirical Estimation of University Knowledge Production Functions for Knowledge Outputs Disseminated via Multiple Channels
AbstractMultiple types of knowledge outputs, associated with different spillover mechanisms, can result from the universities’ knowledge production processes. Using a knowledge production function (KPF) framework, this study develops a simple taxonomy of the different types of knowledge outputs of the university—including knowledge disseminated via publications, via industry collaboration, and via formal technology transfer mechanisms. We compile a uniquely detailed institutional dataset at the level of academic departments and obtain robust estimates of year-to-year and long-run relationships between research inputs and each of these different types of knowledge outputs. We find that productivity varies: production of knowledge disseminated by publication and by direct collaboration with industry exhibits decreasing returns to scale, while production of knowledge disseminated by formal technology transfer appears to exhibit increasing returns to scale.
Lost in the Storm: The Academic Collaborations That Went Missing in Hurricane Isaac
AbstractBy exploiting the cancellation of the 2012 American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, we examine and measure the role of academic conferences in facilitating productive scientific collaborations. Using new datasets on more than 17,000 academics and 86 million dyads of conference participants, we quantify effects using difference-in-differences regressions. Attending a conference increases an individual’s likelihood of forming a collaboration with another attendant by more than 15 percent. Conferences also improve the matching of co-authors, leading to more successful co-publications: an effect which is sharpest among academics with fewer co-authorship opportunities in their own institution. Our findings throw interesting light on open questions about teamwork patterns and scientific productivity.
- A1 - General Economics