Overcoming the Barriers to Research Productivity

A case study in immunology and microbiology

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OvercomingbarriersreportcoverIncreasingly we look to scientific research and development to drive economic growth. With public expenditure on R and D making up an increasing proportion of GDP, governments and research funding bodies everywhere want to maximize the return on their investment.

Until now most studies of research productivity have looked at aggregate inputs and outputs, often employing complex economic models to try to understand the factors that drive or inhibit research. This study takes a different approach, using modern large-scale survey techniques to understand the views of principal researchers in two biomedical disciplines, immunology and microbiology. The survey asked researchers themselves to identify the kinds of measures that they would like to see, both in the workplace and in the wider environment, to support their productivity. A more specific aim was to find out where possible problems in accessing publishing literature ranked in their concerns.

Using an online survey to poll the views of 883 randomly selected senior researchers and a trade-off analysis technique, the findings identify the policy measures upon which there is the greatest level of agreement among the scientific community and places these issues in a clear preference order with a numerical weighting attached to each.