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The first cut is the deepest: repeated interactions of coauthorship and academic productivity in Nobel laureate teams

Abstract

Despite much in-depth investigation of factors influencing the coauthorship evolution in various scientific fields, our knowledge about how efficiency or creativity is linked to the longevity of collaborative relationships remains very limited. We explore what Nobel laureates’ coauthorship patterns reveal about the nature of scientific collaborations looking at the intensity and success of scientific collaborations across fields and across laureates’ collaborative lifecycles in physics, chemistry, and physiology/medicine. We find that more collaboration with the same researcher is actually no better for advancing creativity: publications produced early in a sequence of repeated collaborations with a given coauthor tend to be published better and cited more than papers that come later in the collaboration with the same coauthor. Our results indicate that scientific collaboration involves conceptual complementarities that may erode over a sequence of repeated interactions.

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Acknowledgments

For advice and suggestions, thanks are due to two anonymous referees. We acknowledge financial support from the Australian Research Council (FT110100463).

Author information

Correspondence to Benno Torgler.

Appendix

Appendix

See Figs. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and Tables 3, 4 and 5.

Fig. 4
figure4

Distribution of the total number of Nobel laureate coauthors. Note: Bin width = 50

Fig. 5
figure5

Intensity of cooperation by field weighted by unequal co-author contribution

Fig. 6
figure6

Intensity of cooperation by field weighted by equal co-author contribution

Fig. 7
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Citations received by early and late collaborations of laureate-coauthor pairs weighted by unequal co-author contribution

Fig. 8
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Citations received by early and late collaborations of laureate-coauthor pairs weighted by equal co-author contribution

Fig. 9
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Citations received by first and second half of all collaborations of laureate-coauthor pairs

Table 3 A-index for unequal co-author contributions
Table 4 First stage regression results for 2SLS
Table 5 Descriptive statistics of dependent and independent variables employed in 2SLS regression analysis

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Chan, H.F., Önder, A.S. & Torgler, B. The first cut is the deepest: repeated interactions of coauthorship and academic productivity in Nobel laureate teams. Scientometrics 106, 509–524 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-015-1796-y

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Keywords

  • Innovation
  • Scientific collaboration
  • Team formation
  • Nobel laureates