Historical Social Research

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Manuel Schramm, Langfristiges exponentielles Wachstum der Wissenschaft? Eine quantitative Überprüfung am Beispiel der Wissensproduktion im frühneuzeitlichen Europa [Abstract]

Ever since Derek de Solla Price’s path breaking work, an exponential growth of science during the last 400 years has been assumed, eventually leading to a knowledge society. However, we are suggesting here that a more realistic picture of the growth of science and knowledge can be found by taking other forms of knowledge and knowledge production in early modern Europe into account: the number of experts instead of scientists and learned societies instead of universities. From this perspective, the growth of science looks a lot less spectacular. At the same time, the economic productivity of research and development seems to have decreased.