Anatomy of funded research in science
Published on Dec 1, 2015in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America9.58
· DOI :10.1073/pnas.1513651112
Seeking research funding is an essential part of academic life. Funded projects are primarily collaborative in nature through internal and external partnerships, but what role does funding play in the formulation of these partnerships? Here, by examining over 43,000 scientific projects funded over the past three decades by one of the major government research agencies in the world, we characterize how the funding landscape has changed and its impacts on the underlying collaboration networks across different scales. We observed rising inequality in the distribution of funding and that its effect was most noticeable at the institutional level—the leading universities diversified their collaborations and increasingly became the knowledge brokers in the collaboration network. Furthermore, it emerged that these leading universities formed a rich club (i.e., a cohesive core through their close ties) and this reliance among them seemed to be a determining factor for their research success, with the elites in the core overattracting resources but also rewarding in terms of both research breadth and depth. Our results reveal how collaboration networks organize in response to external driving forces, which can have major ramifications on future research strategy and government policy.
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