Blind Matching Versus Matchmaking: Comparison Group Selection for Highly Creative Researchers
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This research examines approaches for constructing a comparison group relative to highly creative researchers in nanotechnology and human genetics in the US and Europe. Such a comparison group would be useful in identifying factors that contribute to scientific creativity in these emerging fields. Two comparison group development approaches are investigated. The first approach is based on propensity score analysis and the second is based on knowledge from the literature on scientific creativity and early career patterns. In the first approach, the log of citations over the years of activity in the domains under analysis produces a significant result, but the distribution of matches is not adequate at the middle and high ends of the scale. The second approach matches highly creative researchers in nanotechnology and human genetics with a comparison group of researchers that have the same or similar early career characteristics were considered: (1) same first year of publication (2) same subject category of the first publication, (3) similar publication volume for the first six years in the specified emerging domain. High levels of diversity among the highly creative researchers, especially those in human genetics, underscore the difficulties of constructing a comparison group to understand factors that have brought about their level of performance.