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Research groups: How big should they be?

Cook I, Grange S, Eyre-Walker A - PeerJ (2015)

Bottom Line: The relationships for the impact factor and the number of citations are extremely weak.Our analyses suggest that an increase in productivity will be achieved by funding more PIs with small research groups, unless the cost of employing post-docs and PhD students is less than 20% the cost of a PI.We also provide evidence that post-docs are more productive than PhD students both in terms of the number of papers they produce and where those papers are published.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex , Brighton , United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Understanding the relationship between scientific productivity and research group size is important for deciding how science should be funded. We have investigated the relationship between these variables in the life sciences in the United Kingdom using data from 398 principle investigators (PIs). We show that three measures of productivity, the number of publications, the impact factor of the journals in which papers are published and the number of citations, are all positively correlated to group size, although they all show a pattern of diminishing returns-doubling group size leads to less than a doubling in productivity. The relationships for the impact factor and the number of citations are extremely weak. Our analyses suggest that an increase in productivity will be achieved by funding more PIs with small research groups, unless the cost of employing post-docs and PhD students is less than 20% the cost of a PI. We also provide evidence that post-docs are more productive than PhD students both in terms of the number of papers they produce and where those papers are published.

No MeSH data available.


Number of citations per year versus group size.The least squares line of best fit is shown.
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fig-5: Number of citations per year versus group size.The least squares line of best fit is shown.

Mentions: Much the same pattern holds for the number of citations per year. The mean log number of citations per year is significantly correlated to group size (r = 0.15, p = 0.004) (Fig. 5). However, the regression explains very little of the variance and the slope is very shallow (b = 0.12 (0.04)). The number of citations is only significantly correlated to the number of post-docs (b = 0.19, p < 0.001).


Research groups: How big should they be?

Cook I, Grange S, Eyre-Walker A - PeerJ (2015)

Number of citations per year versus group size.The least squares line of best fit is shown.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4465944&req=5

fig-5: Number of citations per year versus group size.The least squares line of best fit is shown.
Mentions: Much the same pattern holds for the number of citations per year. The mean log number of citations per year is significantly correlated to group size (r = 0.15, p = 0.004) (Fig. 5). However, the regression explains very little of the variance and the slope is very shallow (b = 0.12 (0.04)). The number of citations is only significantly correlated to the number of post-docs (b = 0.19, p < 0.001).

Bottom Line: The relationships for the impact factor and the number of citations are extremely weak.Our analyses suggest that an increase in productivity will be achieved by funding more PIs with small research groups, unless the cost of employing post-docs and PhD students is less than 20% the cost of a PI.We also provide evidence that post-docs are more productive than PhD students both in terms of the number of papers they produce and where those papers are published.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex , Brighton , United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Understanding the relationship between scientific productivity and research group size is important for deciding how science should be funded. We have investigated the relationship between these variables in the life sciences in the United Kingdom using data from 398 principle investigators (PIs). We show that three measures of productivity, the number of publications, the impact factor of the journals in which papers are published and the number of citations, are all positively correlated to group size, although they all show a pattern of diminishing returns-doubling group size leads to less than a doubling in productivity. The relationships for the impact factor and the number of citations are extremely weak. Our analyses suggest that an increase in productivity will be achieved by funding more PIs with small research groups, unless the cost of employing post-docs and PhD students is less than 20% the cost of a PI. We also provide evidence that post-docs are more productive than PhD students both in terms of the number of papers they produce and where those papers are published.

No MeSH data available.