I love reports like this one entitled >The Impact of Research Collaboration on Scientific Productivity. They surveyed a lot of scientists regarding several aspects of their research, such as collaboration. They found that the most productive scientists, those that publish the most, are also the most collaborative. They did all sorts of data mashing and found some nice tidbits. They found that the most productive years for a scientist are between the 19th and 28th years following the award of their doctorate. Now measuring productivity purely by publications may skew matters somewhat. It would be interesting to get some idea how important these papers were or whether these just factories chugging out material. But is a nice first start and one that indicates important aspects of how future research will be performed Because Google is such a wonderful device, and since this work is about collaboration, I was able to find a site through the lead author (Barry Bozeman at Georgia Tech) that provides a Word version of the second paper mentioned, Research Collaboration Strategies among Scientists and Engineers. So you can download and read the real thing rather than only a synopsis. I love Google. And I love researchers who are generous with their work. [A Man with a Ph.D. – Richard Gayle's Weblog]
Interesting, the 19th through 28th year…. beyond that i wonder what actually accounts for productivity, i suspect it has a bit to do with publishing….. but I suspect that publishing is much more indicative of an extensive networking and mastery of the necessary skills to get published, than the actual productivity of the scientist….