How Economics Shape Science by Paula Stephan

The future of science and research is something that concerns me. I honestly can't remember if I have posted anything about it here before, or if it all sits in four or five frustrated drafts. The increasing competitiveness - I am not talking about professor bickering who's got the biggest office now, from what I can tell that has always been going on - and the political belief that science drives economy is changing academia. Or, perhaps that is merely the impression I get from talking to friends in the fray.

In any case, this interest in the 'science economy' led me to read Paula Stephan's How Economics Shape Science a couple of years ago. Stephan is a Professor of Economics, and in this book she treat science and academia using the tools of her trade. This makes for quite interesting reading, also for someone who isn't an economist. For sure, the structure of the system she studies is the North American, but this is increasingly being mimicked over the world.

Stephan talks about funding and the role of publications and peer review. She highlights many of the problems associated with this, and has some ideas for improvement. Though it did not answer all my questions, it is an interesting read if you are into the subject, and this brief note, rather than a full review, does not do it justice.