To publish or not to publish: a systems analysis of longitudinal trends in publishing strategies of a human factors research organization

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The goal of this study is to extend Rasmussen's framework for risk management to research organisations having to deal with reduced income from government funding and increased market orientation. One human factors research organisation was studied in detail. Using archival records, changes were studied over the period 1989–2010. The results showed an increase in income from market funding relative to government funding, and a decrease in written output. Predictions by stress–strain theory were confirmed in that during the first 5 years of the period under consideration, a linear relationship between the increase in market funding and written output was observed, whereas a nonlinear relationship was observed in the next 5–10 years, indicating a larger decrease in written output than would be expected. Generally, the results show that research organisations are adaptive systems that trade off resource allocation to either commercial activities or scientific activities, depending on incentive schemes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-530
Number of pages32
JournalTheoretical issues in ergonomics science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2013



  • Science of ergonomics
  • Human factors research organisation
  • Publishing trends
  • Systems analysis
  • Adaptive systems
  • System resilience

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