Science Production Function Society

The goal of this project is to develop an interdisciplinary community of natural and physical scientists, mathematicians, social scientists, and technologists to address questions and issues surrounding the production of scientific knowledge, otherwise known asscientific production function (SPF).  We aim to stimulate and facilitate high-quality research on questions related to the (1) micro‐organization of scientific production, at the individual, laboratory, departmental, and community levels and (2) impact on the economy and society. Some of the core issues within SPF include: how scientific labs are organized and how work is structured and managed; knowledge and information sharing within and across labs and disciplines; competition, norms, and collaboration amongst scientists; funding and allocation of resources across sciences; and translation and commercialization of knowledge.


We conducted fifty-six intensive interviews—in three waves with varying research protocols—with principal investigators (PIs) and their staff across multiple scientific fields. Interview protocols covered issues in the organization and productivity of science. The primary focus of the interviews was on inputs and processes rather than the more extensively studied outputs. Further, we wanted to focus on the ways in which the organization of science and management practices differ between and within disciplines. We first developed two protocols to capture faculty and non-faculty views, respectively, and then a third to address questions raised about research groups and resource efforts across types of projects and topics raised in the first interviews. The interview protocols and detailed disciplinary summaries are available below:

Interview Protocols586 KB
Discipline Reports646 KB