Do Funding Sources Complement? The Case of UK Cancer Research

Daniele Rotolo, SPRU, University of Sussex

Large science budgets are under pressure (facing cuts or are flat/eroded by inflation). Our understanding of the interdependencies that characterise national funding environments and, thus the potentially amplified effects of budget cuts, is however limited. The seminar will explore complementarity and substitution effects among distinct funding sources at scientific publication level. To do so, we first examine the robustness and comparability of funding data reported in acknowledgement sections of publications to generate funding landscapes useful for policy making. We use a novel dataset of manually extracted and coded data on the funding acknowledgements of 7,510 publications representing UK cancer research in the year 2011 and compare these ‘reference data’ with funding data provided by Web of Science (WoS) and MEDLINE/PubMed. We then use these data to distinguish funding sources between (i) national, (ii) international, and (iii) industry. We consider multiple funders on a single publication to be complementary to each other when these co-funded outputs occur more often than expected (a multivariate profit model is estimated). We ascribe this to authors’ strategies to access funding directly or indirectly (e.g. via collaboration with funded co-authors) in order to achieve their scientific objectives. The analysis of funding acknowledgements shows high recall (about 93%) of WoS funding data, while MEDLINE/PubMed data retrieved less than half of the UK cancer publications acknowledging at least one funder. Conversely, both databases have high precision (+90%): i.e. few cases of publications with no acknowledgement to funders are identified as having funding data. Nonetheless, funders acknowledged in UK cancer publications were not correctly listed by MEDLINE/PubMed and WoS in about 75% and 32% of the cases, respectively. Complementarity among national and international funding sources and between the latter and industrial support is found. The empirical analysis does not provide evidence of complementarity between national and industrial funding sources.

About the speaker
Daniele Rotolo, Ph.D (European Doctorate in Innovation Management), is Marie Curie IOF Research Fellow at SPRU, University of Sussex and the School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology. He was a visiting researcher at University College London and Stern Business School (New York University). Daniele has received research funding from the European Commission, Cancer Research UK, and Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). His most recent work has focused on the network dynamics featuring in emerging technologies, scientometric mapping techniques, the role of networks in knowledge creation, barriers to interdisciplinary research, and the determinants of academic productivity.

Venue: Conference room (room 0.16 & 0.17)

Date: 12 May 2016

Time: 12:30 - 13:30


UNU-MERIT