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Global Mega-Science: Universities, Research Collaborations, and Knowledge Production
Baker, David P.; POWELL, Justin J W
2024Stanford University Press, Stanford, United States
Peer reviewed


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Keywords :
universities; higher education; science; research; sociology; institution; culture; education; bibliometrics; history; organization; neo-institutionalism; theory; talcott parsons; world polity; scientization
Abstract :
[en] Global Mega-Science explains the unprecedented worldwide expansion of higher education and of research collaborations that have transformed the production of science. Growing global science capacity relies on the rise of the research university and unprecedented investments in research, which reflects the influential global ”university-science model”. Most nations have established research universities to educate academics and professionals—all contribute to scientific discovery. Science increasingly relies on global collaborative efforts, esp. the STEM+ disciplines and “mega-science” projects, such as the Covid-19 vaccines, but all fields rely more than ever on collaboration within diverse networks. Unique in its historical scope (1900-2020) and in theorizing the rise of “mega-science” via the worldwide diffusion of the “university-science model”, the book covers numerous cases of historically leading science countries, from Germany and the United States to China and other Asian countries as well as small states with the newest research universities (Luxembourg, Qatar)—embedded in worldwide trends and patterns. 2023 marks 60 years since the founder of bibliometrics, Derek de Solla Price, published his seminal contribution "Little Science, Big Science" (1963). We explicitly disprove his hypothesis that science growth would slow down; instead, we find pure exponential growth in publications and collaborations.
Disciplines :
Sociology & social sciences
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology: Multidisciplinary, general & others
Education & instruction
Author, co-author :
Baker, David P.;  Pennsylvania State University
POWELL, Justin J W  ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Social Sciences (DSOC)
External co-authors :
Language :
Title :
Global Mega-Science: Universities, Research Collaborations, and Knowledge Production
Publication date :
Publisher :
Stanford University Press, Stanford, United States
Edition :
Number of pages :
Peer reviewed :
Peer reviewed
Focus Area :
Educational Sciences
Development Goals :
4. Quality education
Name of the research project :
R-AGR-3577 - Q-KNOW - part UL (01/05/2019 - 20/04/2022) - POWELL Justin J W
Funders :
BMBF - Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung [DE]
Commentary :
Endorsements for Baker, David P. & Justin J.W. Powell. 2024. Global Mega-Science: Universities, Research Collaborations, and Knowledge Production. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. “It’s hard to think of a more prescient moment to interrogate the role of science, knowledge, and higher education globally. In the face of rising anti-science conspiracy theories, Baker and Powell remind us that scientific knowledge is exponentially expanding and that universities remain an indispensable force. A timely and essential read.” —Cynthia Miller-Idriss, American University. “In a tour-de-force combination of empirics and theorizing, Baker and Powell deftly portray a revolution in knowledge whose near-invisibility is a mark of its constitutional role in shaping world society. Rendered with concision and wit, Global Mega-Science also serves as an excellent introduction to sociological institutionalism.” —Mitchell L. Stevens, Stanford University “This wonderful, timely book on the truly global character of science and higher education interweaves rich quantitative data with a rare sense for storytelling. Baker and Powell provide a compelling analysis of the multiple and, in sum, positive aspects of how different societies are shaped and connected by the unprecedented creation and transfer of knowledge.” —Georg Krücken, International Center for Higher Education Research (INCHER / Kassel University). “Global Mega-Science is both thoroughly detailed and remarkably expansive. By blending both empirics and theory, the authors apply a comparative and historical perspective to the study of science, universities, globalization, and world society.” —Gili S. Drori, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “Global Mega-Science chronicles the incredible pace of scientific discovery and collaboration over the past hundred years. The impressive original bibliometric dataset reveals a dynamic, globally interconnected scientific landscape. The compelling argument focuses on the higher education revolution and the spread of the university-science model as drivers of today’s mega-science. A must-read.” —Kathrin Zippel, Freie Universität Berlin. “Baker and Powell’s grand tour through Germany, the US, China, and across the globe describes an explosion of science so vast as to defy imagination. Their brilliant analysis of university-based science brings startling clarity to the nature of this revolution, its implications, and ultimately why scholars everywhere should be paying more attention to global mega-science.” —Evan Schofer, University of California, Irvine.
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