Matthew effect (in science)

Definition: Named for the ‘rich get richer; poor get poorer’ paraphrase of the Gospel of Matthew. Eminent scientists and early-career researchers with a prestigious fellowship are disproportionately attributed greater levels of credit and funding for their contributions to science while relatively unknown or early-career researchers without a prestigious fellowship tend to get disproportionately little credit for comparable contributions. The impact is a substantial cumulative advantage that results from modest initial comparative advantages (and vice versa).

Related terms: Matthew effect in education, Stigler’s law of eponymy

References: Bol et al. (2018), Bornmann et al. (2019), & Merton (1968)

Drafted and Reviewed by: Tamara Kalandadze, Bradley Baker, Tsvetomira Dumbalska, Mahmoud Elsherif, Matt Jaquiery, Charlotte R. Pennington

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