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Quantifying the evolution of scientific careers

Roberta Sinatra Related
Foundations 29/01/2020

Despite the frequent use of numerous quantitative indicators to gauge the professional impact of scientists, little is known about how scientific impact emerges and evolves in scientific careers. In this talk we present a series of findings from the analysis of a large-scale dataset of scientific careers. We tackle the following three questions:

How does impact evolve in a career? What is the role of scientific chaperones in achieving high impact? How interdisciplinary is our award system?

We show that impact, as measured by influential publications, is distributed randomly within a scientist’s sequence of publications, and formulate a stochastic model that uncouples the effects of productivity, individual ability, and luck in scientific careers. We show the role of chaperones in achieving high scientific impact and we study the relation between interdisciplinarity and scientific recognitions. Taken together, we contribute to the understanding of the principles governing the emergence of scientific success.