The Novelty Paradox & Bias for Normal Science: Evidence from Randomized Medical Grant Proposal Evaluations

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The Novelty Paradox & Bias for Normal Science: Evidence from Randomized Medical Grant Proposal Evaluations

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Title: The Novelty Paradox & Bias for Normal Science: Evidence from Randomized Medical Grant Proposal Evaluations
Author: Boudreau, Kevin; Guinan, Eva Catharina; Lakhani, Karim R; Riedl, Christoph

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Boudreau, Kevin J., Eva C. Guinan, Karim R. Lakhani, and Christoph Riedl. "The Novelty Paradox & Bias for Normal Science: Evidence from Randomized Medical Grant Proposal Evaluations." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13–053, December 2012.
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Abstract: Central to any innovation process is the evaluation of proposed projects and allocation of resources. We investigate whether novel research projects, those deviating from existing research paradigms, are treated with a negative bias in expert evaluations. We analyze the results of a peer review process for medical research grant proposals at a leading medical research university, in which we recruited 142 expert university faculty members to evaluate 150 submissions, resulting in 2,130 randomly-assigned proposal-evaluator pair observations. Our results confirm a systematic penalty for novel proposals; a standard deviation increase in novelty drops the expected rank of a proposal by 4.5 percentile points. This discounting is robust to various controls for unobserved proposal quality and alternative explanations. Additional tests suggest information effects rather than strategic effects account for the novelty penalty. Only a minority of the novelty penalty could be related to perceptions of lesser feasibility of novel proposals.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:10001229

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