Prepublication Disclosure of Scientific Results

May 17, 2018

More scientists disclose results before publication than not -- at least in some fields -- according to a new study in Science Advances. The study is a based on a survey of 7,103 active faculty researchers in nine fields. Researchers in seven fields said they disclose results prior to publication, but they reported different reasons for doing so. Particularly in what the authors call “formulaic fields,” scientists disclose results to attract new researchers to the field and to "deter others from working on their exact problem," the study says.

A probability model shows that 70 percent of field variation in disclosure is related to differences in respondent beliefs about “norms, competition and commercialization,” reads the study, led by Jerry G. Thursby, Ernest Scheller, Jr. Chair in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “Our results suggest new research directions -- for example, do the problems addressed or the methods of scientific production themselves shape norms and competition? Are the levels we observe optimal or simply path-dependent? What is the interplay of norms, competition and commercialization in disclosure and the progress of science?”

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