, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 435–457 | Cite as

The Scientific Research Output of U.S. Research Universities, 1980–2010: Continuing Dispersion, Increasing Concentration, or Stable Inequality?

  • Steven BrintEmail author
  • Cynthia E. Carr


Extending and expanding Geiger and Feller’s (1995) analysis of increasing dispersion in R&D expenditures during the 1980s, the paper analyzes publication and citation counts as well as R&D expenditures for 194 top producers using Web of Science data. We find high and stable levels of inequality in the 1990s and 2000s, combined with robust growth both in the system and on individual campuses, considerable opportunities for short-range mobility and very limited opportunities for long-range mobility. Initial investments in research, private control, and the capacity of wealthy institutions to attract productive faculty are associated with high levels of scientific output. New entrants to the system and those that leave the system are both clustered near the bottom of the hierarchy.


Higher education Research productivity Institutional stratification Institutional mobility 



We would like to thank Michaela Curran and Matthew C. Mahutga for consulting on the statistical modeling used in this paper. We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for comments that improved the quality of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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