Edited by Raymond J.G.M. Florax, Peter Nijkamp and Kenneth G. Willis
Chapter 1: Meta-analysis and value transfer: comparative assessment of scientific knowledge
1. Meta-analysis and value transfer: comparative assessment of scientiﬁc knowledge Raymond J.G.M. Florax, Peter Nijkamp, Kenneth G. Willis 1 THE KNOWLEDGE PARADOX IN SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS The level of scientiﬁc knowledge has risen to an unprecedented degree in the postwar period and the cumulative stock of new knowledge has in the past ﬁfty years far exceeded the total knowledge stock gathered by mankind during the previous centuries. Not surprisingly, our modern society is often referred to as a knowledge society. Notwithstanding this favourable picture, it is also increasingly recognized that the need for more information has risen almost limitlessly. From daily operational choices to long-term strategic decisions, the amount of information needed by decision makers can hardly be satisﬁed or covered anymore. It thus seems that in a knowledge society the demand for scientiﬁc knowledge and information is growing even faster than the supply. This mismatch, called the ‘knowledge paradox’, prompts the question whether the balance between supply and demand can be restored. A surprising feature of the abundance of scientiﬁc insights in our current knowledge society is the lack of scientiﬁc synthesis. The process of scientiﬁc knowledge gathering proceeds usually in a fragmented and individualized way, without due attention to research eﬀorts made previously or elsewhere. This is clearly witnessed by the present popularity of, and need for, survey articles that aim to review concisely the state of aﬀairs in a relevant area of scientiﬁc research. Most of these contributions,...