The “rich get richer” (Matthew’s Talents) effect on the bibliometrics indicators.

The rich get richer or success breeds success effect, also called Matthew’s principle from the parable of the Talents in Matthew  25:14-30, has been invoked many times in the sociology of science to justify highly skewed distributions of bibliometric indicators measuring the scientific production of scholars. The basic underlying idea it is that if you have more, it’s easier to gain more. This is a consequence of “the process of allocation of rewards to scientists for their contributions” (recognition) “which in turn affects the flow of ideas and findings through the communication networks of science” generating a reputational effect.

Here, we propose a general explanation of the observed evidence by developing a straightforward model based on the following simple assumptions: (1) the materialist principle of the natural equality of human intelligence, (2) the success breeds success effect, which can be traced back to the Gospel parables about the Talents (Matthew) and Minas (Luke), and, (3) the recognition and reputation mechanism.

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