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Journal Articles Environmental Research Letters Year : 2022

The carbon footprint of scientific visibility

Abstract

Abstract In face of global warming, academics have begun to consider and analyze the environmental and carbon footprints associated with their professional activity. Among the several sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from research activities, air travel - one of the most visible and unequal fraction of this footprint - has received much attention. Of particular interest is the question of how air travel may be related to scientific success or visibility as defined by current academic evaluation norms, notably bibliometric indicators. Existing studies, conducted over a small sample of individuals or within specific disciplines, have demonstrated that the number of citations may be related to air travel frequency, but have failed to identify a link between air-travel and publication rate or h -index. Here, using a comprehensive dataset aggregating the answers from over 6000 respondents to a survey sent to randomly selected scientists and staff across all research disciplines in France, we show that a strong publication rate and h -index are significantly associated with higher individual air travel. This relationship is robust to the inclusion of the effects of gender, career stage and disciplines. Our analysis suggests that flying is a mean for early career scientists to obtain scientific visibility, and for senior scientist to maintain this visibility.
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halshs-03864094 , version 1 (01-12-2022)

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Olivier Berné, Lydiane Agier, Antoine Hardy, Emmanuel Lellouch, Olivier Aumont, et al.. The carbon footprint of scientific visibility. Environmental Research Letters, 2022, 17 (12), pp.124008. ⟨10.1088/1748-9326/ac9b51⟩. ⟨halshs-03864094⟩
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