, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 395–416 | Cite as

Size, age and productivity of scientific and technical research groups

  • J. E. Cohen


Varied empirical studies show that the average output (measured in various ways) of a scientific or technical research group is directly proportional to its size (also measured in various ways), when the size and output are measured independently. Hence groups of different sizes have the same average output per unit of size. There is no reliable evidence for the existence of a size or a range of sizes for a research group that maximizes output per unit of size. Present theoretical explanations for the proportionality between size and output are largely inadequate or untested. Similarly, among reported results on group age and output, the only consistency so far is that age, measured as years since the founding or first functioning of the group, is uncorrelated with output per capita. Again, there is no evidence for the existence of an age or a range of ages for a research group that is optimal.


Research Group Empirical Study Average Output Theoretical Explanation Technical Research 
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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Cohen
    • 1
  1. 1.The Rockefeller UniversityNew York(USA)

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