Mechanism of Material Transfer in Different Scientific-Field Environment: Japanese Life Science and Material Science Fields
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Using a sample of Japanese academic scientists, this study examines behavioral patterns of scientists especially in material transfer transactions. The results indicate that some characteristics of scientific fields differentiate scientists' behavioral patterns. First, in some fields scientists tend to demand some forms of return when supplying research materials. They are less likely to provide their materials when their benefits are not clear. This reciprocal behavior, along with market-oriented one, can impede a proper flow of research materials. Second, when the reciprocal behaviors become dominant at the field level, it can aggravate the withholding behaviors of commercially-active scientists. On the other hand, when commercial activities prevail at the field level, the reciprocal behaviors are accelerated. Thus, the trend of commercialization and the reciprocal climate can reinforce each other and lead to further anti-communal consequences. As a potential solution to this, restriction on commercial income can alleviate withholding behaviors of commercially-active scientists. Third, scientists tend to fulfill material requests from previous collaborators and colleagues. This tendency is particularly strengthened when network density is high, and the flow of research materials is restricted inside small networks. These results imply that we should consider more about field characteristics to design suitable policy interventions to facilitate scientist cooperation.