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Rich-Get-Richer in Academia

This article explores how new ideas spread through different faculty and universities in academia. The research, done in University of Colorado Boulder, proposed that ideas and research from elite colleges spread the furthest, even when the quality of the research is not as high. This is a result of most faculty training in those elite universities. Thus, once a person graduates from a university A and starts teaching at another university B, that person is passing ideas between A and B. There is a bias for the elite universities and thus, the ideas spread from A would be more likely to be accepted if A is an elite university. Thus, to stop the spread of bad ideas, the researches suggest using double-blind peer reviews to block the names and affiliations of the authors. For high quality ideas, the university name does not matter and these ideas can spread, even if it originated from a low ranked university.

This article describes how graduates and alumni of universities help create a network of information between different universities. This is similar to rich-get-richer phenomena we learned in class. Elite universities have higher number of graduates and alumni that end up teaching at other universities. Thus, these universities would have more connections to other universities and manage to spread their ideas further. Since the elite universities produce so many teaching faculty, the students from the other universities would be encouraged to attend these elite universities for graduate studies by their teachers. Thus, this creates a rich-get-richer phenomena, in which elite universities will keep getting more students to attend because of the status and keep increasing the status because of the number of students attending.


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November 2018