Getting What We Pay For: Incentives, Peer Review, and Conservatism in Science

Friday, February 15, 2013: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room 313 (Hynes Convention Center)
Should we allocate scientific resources by having panels of experts from the relevant scientific fields select what they see as the most promising from among a variety of proposals for specific projects? This system for funding scientific investigation is a fairly recent historical creation, one that has clearly generated enormous success but also the persistent concern among scientists themselves that it does not encourage or even allow the pursuit of genuinely transformative science -- novel theoretical approaches, creative methods, or alternatives to contemporary orthodoxy. In this symposium, we will explore the ability of contemporary methods of peer-review and proposal evaluation to encourage genuinely transformative science from a variety of disciplinary approaches: a historical comparison of the contemporary incentive structure of scientific inquiry with those present in earlier scientific eras; empirical and experimental investigation of the effectiveness of peer-review and other features of the contemporary system of allocation of resources for science; and economic modeling of possible changes in the current incentive structure of science, together with an analysis of what difference we might expect such changes to make to the products of the contemporary scientific enterprise. A recent program director for the National Science Foundation’s Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP) Program will serve as discussant.
P. Kyle Stanford, University of California
David C. Croson, National Science Foundation
P. Kyle Stanford, University of California
Changing Incentives and the Closing of the Scientific Mind
Kevin J.S. Zollman, Carnegie Mellon University
Understanding the Reward System of Science: An Economic Approach
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