Handbook of Research on Creativity
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Handbook of Research on Creativity

Edited by Kerry Thomas and Janet Chan

In this timely work, creativity is not defined by an ideal, rather it encompasses a range of theories, functions, characteristics, processes, products and practices that are associated with the generation of novel and useful outcomes suited to particular social, cultural and political contexts. Chapters present original research by international scholars from a wide range of disciplines including history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, cultural studies, education, economics and interdisciplinary studies. Their research investigates creativity in diverse fields including art, creative industries, aesthetics, design, new media, music, arts education, science, engineering and technology.
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Chapter 35: Leading science: the role of research leaders in scientific creativity

Janet Chan


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 [1962] 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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