When an academic participates in a large conference, her or his likelihood of subsequently writing a paper with at least one participant at the conference increases by one-sixth (close to 18%). Moreover, it seems that conferences improve the quality of matching among co-authors, leading to papers that are published in higher-ranked journals.
These findings are documented in the paper “Lost in the Storm: The Academic Collaborations that Went Missing in Hurricane Isaac”. This is part of an ongoing programme ofwork, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, in which economists at University of Kent and University of East Anglia utilise a natural experiment to understand the role of conferences in academic and scientific production generally.
In late August 2012, the imminent landfall of Hurricane Isaac forced the cancellation – atless than 48 hours’ notice – of an important event in political scientists’ annual calendar: theAmerican Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting. By analysing the output patterns – in terms of published and working papers – among 17,468 academics that attend conferences (including academics scheduled to have participated in this cancelled conference, in previous editions of the APSA meeting and/or editions of a similar Annual Meeting), the authors estimate the effects of conferences on the likelihood of academics to form new co-authorships, and provide evidence for the role of conferences as important facilitators for academic networking.