Scientists discover that bigger is not better

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Why am I not surprised? An comparison of the size of research labs and the number of impact papers the lab published found that increasing the number of students to the staff above a certain point does little to increase research success.

To publish the most papers, labs should ideally have 10 to 15 members, according to a much-discussed study in PeerJ PrePrints. Adding more and more graduate students and postdocs beyond that number does not guarantee a continued rise in high-impact papers, the study found, partly because the extra workers tend to be much less productive than the principal investigator (PI). Mark Pallen, who heads a microbiology lab at the University of Warwick, UK, tweeted “Nice that PIs matter!”

Not surprisingly, there is much skepticism of this result in the scientific community, as having more workers in their lab tends to give them a justification for requiring more grant funds.


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