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Scientometrics

, Volume 109, Issue 2, pp 997–1016 | Cite as

Age stratification and cohort effects in scholarly communication: a study of social sciences

  • Cassidy R. SugimotoEmail author
  • Thomas J. Sugimoto
  • Andrew Tsou
  • Staša Milojević
  • Vincent Larivière
Article

Abstract

Aging is considered to be an important factor in a scholar’s propensity to innovate, produce, and collaborate on high quality work. Yet, empirical studies in the area are rare and plagued with several limitations. As a result, we lack clear evidence on the relationship between aging and scholarly communication activities and impact. To this end, we study the complete publication profiles of more than 1000 authors across three fields—sociology, economics, and political science—to understand the relationship between aging, productivity, collaboration, and impact. Furthermore, we analyze multiple operationalizations of aging, to determine which is more closely related to observable changes in scholarly communication behavior. The study demonstrates that scholars remain highly productive across the life-span of the career (i.e., 40 years), and that productivity increases steeply until promotion to associate professor and then remains stable. Collaboration increases with age and has increased over time. Lastly, a scholar’s work obtains its highest impact directly around promotion and then decreases over time. Finally, our results suggest a statistically significant relationship between rank of the scholar and productivity, collaboration, and impact. These results inform our understanding of the scientific workforce and the production of science.

Keywords

Aging Cohorts Scholarly communication 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the Science of Science Innovation and Policy (SciSIP) program of the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 1158670). The authors would also like to thank Chaoqun Ni and Ying Ding for contributions to earlier drafts of this work.

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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cassidy R. Sugimoto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas J. Sugimoto
    • 2
  • Andrew Tsou
    • 1
  • Staša Milojević
    • 1
  • Vincent Larivière
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Informatics and ComputingIndiana University BloomingtonBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Evaluation and Educational PolicyIndiana University BloomingtonBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’informationUniversité de MontréalMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Observatoire des sciences et des technologiesUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada

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