Low Hanging fruit theory of stagnation is
convenient as it absolves scientists, institutions, and analysts from any responsibility for the slowdown, it is likely wrong. One problem is that this explanation is not unique to our era.
In this paper, we argue that the root of the slowdown in scientific progress lies in the more quotidian fact that scientific work on truly novel ideas that have the potential to develop into groundbreaking advances is no longer rewarded in the same way it once was.
if also novelty metrics were utilized in scientist evaluation, scientists might pursue more innovative, riskier, projects.
Changes in scientific incentives→ slowing science innovation→ economy
Citations shifted behavior towards incremental science
Citations make scientists more conservative
The citation revolution started to gather steam in the 1970s.
In recent decades the largest scientific funding agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has also become less likely to support novel work despite its best efforts to the contrary.
Academic Search Engines solidify citation obsession
Of course, to reward scientific novelty, we must first measure it😭
The third possible path forward could put science back on the path envisioned by Vannevar Bush by broadening how scientific productivity is measured and evaluated. On this path, in addition to scientific impact, we start measuring and evaluating research based on what kind of science it represents—whether the work is novel in that it tries out new ideas or more conventional in that it seeks to advance well-established ideas.