In this week’s installment of Looking at Data, we’re digging into data from the National Science Foundation and NASA. The data can be found at Research.gov, and covers research grants from the NSF and NASA from 2007, and how these grants fared in terms of publications and conference proceedings. They have data all the way up until FY 2013, but I chose 2007 because research takes time, and well, I wanted to have as much data as possible on research outcomes (in this case publications and conference proceedings).
The question I wanted to look at this week is whether “scrappiness is the Mother of invention.” This came up in a conversation I had with my friend @DaveyDeMille over lunch last week. In other words, is being well-funded correlated with a higher research quality, as measured by the proportion of NSF grants that lead to a publication.
First off, just some descriptive stats:
Now moving onto our question:
So although this is pretty cursory, it appears that there’s not really a relationship between getting lots of NSF funding and lots of publication-yielding projects. I’d say, without digging more into this, that scrappiness is, if not the Mother, of invention, at least the aunt.
EDIT: I’ve been reading up on UX lately, following 52 Week of UX (awesome resource, by the way), and came to Week 4 today. They have an excellent post on how constraints force creativity: go read it here: Constraints Fuel Creativity.