Peer review and over-competitive research funding fostering mainstream opinion to monopoly


The aim of peer review is to separate the wheat from the chaff for publication and research funding. In the excessive competition, this mechanism would only select the wheat of mainstream. Up to now, almost all discussions on the consequence of the short-comings of peer review are limited to qualitatively description. I propose a model of “peer-group-assessed-grant-based-funding-system” combined with tenure system and over-competitive research funding review process. It is the first on the quantitatively investigation which dramatizes the current short-comings of the process. My simulation shows that it takes about two or three generations of researchers for the mainstream of a complicated research topic obtaining monopoly supremacy, with only the aid of the mechanism the model described. Based on the computation results, suggestions are proposed to avoid loss of self-correction capability on popularity determined single research direction which could be wrong on very complicated research topics.

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I am grateful to Dr. W. Z. Wang (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA) for helpful discussions. This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China under Grant 2011CBA00107.

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Correspondence to Hui Fang.

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Fang, H. Peer review and over-competitive research funding fostering mainstream opinion to monopoly. Scientometrics 87, 293–301 (2011).

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  • Peer review
  • Research funding
  • Excessive competition
  • Mainstream
  • Mathematical model
  • Simulation

Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 60H99

JEL Classification

  • C15
  • C32