The Credit Incentive to Be a Maverick

Remco Heesen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
98 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

There is a commonly made distinction between two types of scientists: risk-taking, trailblazing mavericks and detail-oriented followers. A number of recent papers have discussed the question what a desirable mixture of mavericks and followers looks like. Answering this question is most useful if a scientific community can be steered toward such a desirable mixture. One attractive route is through credit incentives: manipulating rewards so that reward-seeking scientists are likely to form the desired mixture of their own accord. Here I argue that (even in theory) this idea is less straightforward than it may seem. Interpreting mavericks as scientists who prioritize rewards over speed and risk, I show in a deliberatively simple model that there is a fixed mixture which is not particularly likely to be desirable and which credit incentives cannot alter. I consider a way around this result, but this has some major drawbacks. I conclude that credit incentives are not as promising a way to create a desirable mixture of mavericks and followers as one might have thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-12
Number of pages8
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science. Part A
Volume76
Early online date3-Dec-2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Philosophy of science
  • Mavericks
  • Social epistemology
  • Formal epistemology
  • Credit economy
  • SCIENTIFIC PRODUCTION
  • EPISTEMIC LANDSCAPES
  • STATISTICAL-ANALYSIS
  • DIVISION
  • INVENTIVITY
  • AUTHORS

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