Scooped! Estimating Rewards for Priority in Science
The scientific community assigns credit or “priority” to individuals who publish an important discovery first. We examine the impact of losing a priority race (colloquially known as getting “scooped”) on subsequent publication and career outcomes. To do so, we take advantage of data from structural biology where the nature of the scientific process together with the Protein Data Bank — a repository of standardized research discoveries — enables us to identify priority races and their outcomes. We find that race winners receive more attention than losers, but that these contests are not winner-take-all. Scooped teams are 2.5 percent less likely to publish, are 18 percent less likely to appear in a top-10 journal, and receive 20 percent fewer citations. Getting scooped has only modest effects on academic careers. Finally, we document empirical evidence suggesting that the priority reward system reinforces inequality of attention in science.
Ryan Hill, Carolyn Stein
Hill, Ryan, and Carolyn Stein. 2021. Scooped! Estimating Rewards for Priority in Science.LINK