AN ASSESSMENT OF HISTORICAL TRENDS IN THE FORMATION OF THE AGE STRUCTURE OF HUMANITARIAN RESEARCHERS OVER 100 YEARS
Dobrov Institute for Scientific and Technological Potential and Science History Studies of the NAS of Ukraine
Nauka naukozn. 2021, 1(111): 44-62
Abstract: The global trend of aging science being a topical and most controversial scientific issue today, its addressing is one of the science policy priorities in many countries. One way to solve the problem of aging science is to determine the balance of the age structure of active researchers in the context of the life cycle concept. This can be facilitated by identifying historical trends in the formation of the age structure of researchers, as well as the evolution of its structural elements over time. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to identify and evaluate historical trends in the formation of the age structure of humanities researchers over 100 years.
The purpose of the study is achieved by using the conceptual principles of the life cycle (aging of the individual and the processes of organizational growth and decline) of cohorts of researchers by year of birth, and the method of cohort analysis is applied to determine historical trends in the formation of the age structure of humanities researchers in 1909 and 2009, analyze the structure as the dynamics of change in the cohorts, and estimate the revealed basic tendencies.
To determine the age structures of active humanities researchers for 100 years, a statistical array of historiographical and bibliometric data on well-known and outstanding humanities researchers was formed. Historiographical and bibliometric data consist of information about the year of birth, beginning and end of scientific activity of researchers. In total, the statistical array of the study included historiographical and bibliometric data on 7,130 researchers from 145 countries, born in 1820—1995. To structure the data in time and perform the tasks of this study, all researchers were grouped into 5-year cohorts by year of birth.
It is concluded that the application of the conceptual principles of the life cycle of research activity and the method of cohort analysis allows to identify some historical trends in the age structure of humanities researchers, as well as to identify aspects of addressing the scientific problem of balancing this structure. It was found that events of global scales (world wars or the fourth information revolution) increased both the middle age and the significance of older age groups in the age structures of humanities researchers. The hypothesis was confirmed that the age structures of humanities researchers were institutional in nature, as the onset of disappearance of researchers’ cohorts (67±1 year) was almost unchanged for 100 years and corresponded to the official age limit for full-time positions in most leading countries. The increase in the researchers’ age in the context of the aging of science during 1909—2009 was due to the increased time for researchers’ education and for the maximization of researchers’ cohorts. This increase is offset by the decreased duration of their half-life, which is a sign of the balance of the life cycle of research activity of cohorts by year of birth.
Keywords: humanities researchers, age group, cohort by year of birth, cohort analysis, life cycle, age structure, research activity.
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