Summary: Science and Public Policy May 2009 0302-3427/09/040317-14 US$12.00 © Beech Tree Publishing 2009 317
Science and Public Policy, 36(4), May 2009, pages 317330
DOI: 10.3152/030234209X436563; http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/beech/spp
Why are top universities losing their lead?
An economics modelling-based approach
Peter Andras and Bruce G Charlton
Scientific output of lower-ranked institutions is catching up with leading universities. We present a
simple, conceptual model of research production describing the dynamic interaction between inputs
(research staff and funding) and outputs (publications and citations). Results support an `emergent'
phase of science with elite leading universities, evolving to a `mature' phase of consolidation,
standardization, and catch-up of follower universities. Productivity differences between senior and
junior researchers and the `start-up' costs of research equipment may explain this, together with
advances in information technology. Improved detection and support of emergent sciences may be
achieved by specialized data analysis and directed research funding.
ECENTLY IT HAS BEEN suggested that
top universities are losing their lead com-
pared with other universities (Adams and
Clemmons, 2006; Charlton and Andras, 2006a,b;
Kim et al, 2006a,b; see also Appendix 3 for a sam-
ple of relevant data). Other data (Bayers, 2005; Shel-