, Volume 108, Issue 1, pp 83–111 | Cite as

Optimal research team composition: data envelopment analysis of Fermilab experiments

  • Slobodan PerovićEmail author
  • Sandro Radovanović
  • Vlasta Sikimić
  • Andrea Berber


We employ data envelopment analysis on a series of experiments performed in Fermilab, one of the major high-energy physics laboratories in the world, in order to test their efficiency (as measured by publication and citation rates) in terms of variations of team size, number of teams per experiment, and completion time. We present the results and analyze them, focusing in particular on inherent connections between quantitative team composition and diversity, and discuss them in relation to other factors contributing to scientific production in a wider sense. Our results concur with the results of other studies across the sciences showing that smaller research teams are more productive, and with the conjecture on curvilinear dependence of team size and efficiency.


Social epistemology of science Team size Team diversity Data envelopment analysis High energy physics Fermilab 



This work was supported in part by the Project “Dynamic Systems in Nature and Society: philosophical and empirical aspects” (#179041) financed by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological Development of Serbia. The work of the third author was supported by the FWF project W1255-N23. We would like to thank the Fermilab History & Archives Project, Fermilab’s lnformation Resources Department and the Fermilab Program Planning Office for providing us the necessary data and explanations about the INSPRE-HEP website. In particular we would like to thank Heath O’Connell, Adrienne W. Kolb, Valerie Higgins and Roy Rubinstein for their assistance. We would also like to thank Lilian Hoddeson for putting us in contact with Fermilab stuff, and Milan Ćirković for his important initial suggestions. Finally, we thank the two anonymous reviewers for their outstanding effort.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Slobodan Perović
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sandro Radovanović
    • 2
  • Vlasta Sikimić
    • 3
  • Andrea Berber
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.Faculty of Organizational SciencesUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  3. 3.Department of Formal LanguagesTechnische Universität WienViennaAustria

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