Critical mass and the dependency of research quality on group size
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Academic research groups are treated as complex systems and their cooperative behaviour is analysed from a mathematical and statistical viewpoint. Contrary to the naive expectation that the quality of a research group is simply given by the mean calibre of its individual scientists, we show that intra-group interactions play a dominant role. Our model manifests phenomena akin to phase transitions which are brought about by these interactions, and which facilitate the quantification of the notion of critical mass for research groups. We present these critical masses for many academic areas. A consequence of our analysis is that overall research performance of a given discipline is improved by supporting medium-sized groups over large ones, while small groups must strive to achieve critical mass.
- Biely, C., Hanel, R., & Thurner, S. (2009). Socio-economical dynamics as a solvable spin system on co-evolving networks. European Physical Journal B, 67, 285–290. CrossRef
- Bittner, E., Nußbaumer A., & Janke, W. (2007). Self-affirmation model for football goal distributions. Europhysics Letters, 78, 58002. CrossRef
- Dorogovtsev, S. N., & Mendes, J. F. F. (2003). Evolution of networks. Oxford: Oxford University Press. CrossRef
- Galam, S. (2004). Sociophysics: A personal testimony. Physica A, 336, 49–55. CrossRef
- Harrison, M. (2009). Does high quality research require critical mass?. In D. Pontikakis, D. Kriakou, & R. van Baval (Eds.), The Question of R&D specialisation: Perspectives and policy implications (pp. 57–59). European Commission: JRC Technical and Scientific Reports.
- Holovatch, Yu. http://220.127.116.11/~hol/research.html.
- Kenna, R., & Berche, B. (2010). The extensive nature of group quality. Europhysics Letters. doi:10.1209/0295-5075/90/58002.
- King, D. A. (2004). The scientific impact of nations. Nature, 430, 311–316. CrossRef
- Kondrat, G., & Sznajd-Weron, K. (2010). Spontaneous reorientations in a model of opinion dynamics with anticonformists. International Journal of Modern Physics C, 21, 559–566. CrossRef
- Nußbaumer, A., Janke, W., & Weigel, M. (2009). Football fever: Goal distributions and non-Gaussian statistics. International Journal of Modern Physics B, 67, 459.
- Parisi, G. (1999). Complex systems: A physicist’s viewpoint. Physica A, 263, 557–564. CrossRef
- Critical mass and the dependency of research quality on group size
Volume 86, Issue 2 , pp 527-540
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Critical mass in research
- Research quality
- Research policy
- Research assessment exercise
- Agence d’évaluation de la recherche et de l’enseignement supérieur
- Research excellence framework
- Research funding
- Industry Sectors