May 17, 2022

New Research Article: “Prepublication Disclosure of Scientific Results: Norms, Competition, and Commercial Orientation”

The following article was published today by Science Advances.


Prepublication Disclosure Of Scientific Results: Norms, Competition, And Commercial Orientation


Jerry G. Thursby
Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard
TyGeron Institute

Carolin Haeussler
University of Passau, Germany

Marie C. Thursby
Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard
National Bureau of Economic Research
Vanderbilt University
Georgia Institute of Technology

Lin Jiang
University of Missouri
University of South Florida


Science Advances
16 May 2018: Vol. 4, no. 5, eaar2133
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar2133


In the basis of a survey of 7103 active faculty researchers in nine fields, we examine the extent to which scientists disclose prepublication results, and when they do, why? Except in two fields, more scientists disclose results before publication than not, but there is significant variation in their reasons to disclose, in the frequency of such disclosure, and in withholding crucial results when making public presentations. They disclose results for feedback and credit and to attract collaborators. Particularly in formulaic fields, scientists disclose to attract new researchers to the field independent of collaboration and to deter others from working on their exact problem. A probability model shows that 70% of field variation in disclosure is related to differences in respondent beliefs about norms, competition, and commercialization. Our results suggest new research directions—for example, do the problems addressed or the methods of scientific production themselves shape norms and competition? Are the levels we observe optimal or simply path-dependent? What is the interplay of norms, competition, and commercialization in disclosure and the progress of science?

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.