- Elgar original reference
Edited by Kerry Thomas and Janet Chan
Chapter 35: Leading science: the role of research leaders in scientific creativity
What is scientific creativity? Simonton (2003, 2004) who has written a great deal about creativity in science surprisingly does not provide a definition of scientific creativity except implicitly through phrases such as making ‘notable contributions to their disciplines’ or ‘major discoveries’ (Simonton 2003:475). Many researchers have recognized that the definition of creativity is neither universal nor unchanging: creativity is context specific and exists within a knowledge domain and a social field (Feldman, Csikszentmihalyi and Gardner 1994). Similarly, historians, philosophers and sociologists of science have demonstrated that what counts as scientific discovery or breakthrough is not independent of historical, institutional and social conditions (Kuhn  1970; Hacking 1999; Vinck 2010; Miller, this volume). This context dependency of scientific creativity implies that in contemporary science, the scientific community has a significant role to play in defining and assessing creativity through peer review processes for the award of research grants and honours and the publication of research results. In effect, publication in prestigious journals, grants, prizes and fellowships have all become proxies for scientific creativity (Simonton 2004).
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