May 19, 2022

Syracuse University School of Information Studies: National Science Foundation (NSF) Funds Daniel Acuna’s Study on Scientific Mentorship and Publication

From the Syracuse University School of Information Studies

Daniel Acuna (Source: Syracuse University School of Information Studies)

A study looking at data surrounding the impact of demographic variables such as gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic background on the outcome of scientific training between mentors and mentees is underway at the School of Information Studies given a grant the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded to Assistant Professor Daniel Acuna.

The project, “Collaborative Research: Social Dynamics of Knowledge Transfer through Scientific Mentorship and Publication,” received $176,475 from the National Science Foundation’s Science of Science & Innovation Policy program. Acuna, as principal investigator, with Stephen David of the Oregon Health and Science University, is using the funds for the next two years to look at the effects of gender and race of mentors and mentees on scientific careers.


The project will develop a large crowdsourced database of academic mentorship relationships, and links that data to databases that measure scientific productivity (publications and grants) and demographic variables. Graph theoretic and semantic tools will be used to determine if and how demographic variables, associated with both of the mentor and trainee, impact scientific productivity.

The research will use semantic analysis of publication data to develop the concept of the “intellectual neighborhood” of mentors and incorporate this into the modeling of career outcomes. Data will be made open access for general use by the public, providing a new resource for studying the dynamics of research fields.

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