We consider scientific communities where each scientist employs one of two characteristic methods: an “adequate” method (A) and a “superior” method (S). The quality of methodology is relevant to the epistemic products of these scientists, and generate credit for their users. Higher-credit methods tend to be imitated, allowing to explore whether communities will adopt one method or the other. We use the model to examine the effects of (1) bias for existing methods, (2) competence to assess relative value of competing methods, and (3) two forms of interdisciplinarity: (a) the tendency for members of a scientific community to receive meaningful credit assignment from those outside their community, and (b) the tendency to consider new methods used outside their community. The model can be used to show how interdisciplinarity can overcome the effects of bias and incompetence for the spread of superior methods.
Model of the spread of scientific methods within and between communities
Examining effects of bias, competence, and interdisciplinary.