Bad news for lone geniuses: It takes a team to advance knowledge these days.
So say three management professors at Northwestern University who analyzed nearly 20 million papers published over the past 50 years and more than two million patents to reach their conclusion. Highly cited research is more often published by teams than by solo authors, and that advantage has increased over time, they report in a paper scheduled to appear today in Science online.
Natural scientists aren’t the only ones to line up a squad to attack fundamental problems in their fields. The trend holds for work in the arts and humanities as well, leading the authors to conclude that, for a broad range of intellectual pursuits, “the process of knowledge creation has fundamentally changed.” —Susan Brown