- Knowledge hiding in academia is detrimental to scientific collaboration and harms scientific progress.
- Knowledge hiding in science can be explained by a dispositional fear of exploitation (i.e., victim sensitivity) and suspiciousness.
- Activating researchers’ social identity as a “researcher” does not alleviate but might even increase the suspiciousness of their peers in certain contexts.
This fascinating open access paper published in May 2023, and the research it reports looks at the degree to which researchers are willing to being open and transparent that their work, the degree to which suspiciousness is a factor and whether a social media profile improves matters or makes things worse. For research institutions hoping to encourage data sharing and open research, it suggests work is required to overcome what may be instinctive resistance.
Knowledge hiding in academia—the reluctance to share one’s ideas, materials or knowledge with other researchers—is detrimental to scientific collaboration and harms scientific progress. In three studies, we tested whether (a) knowledge hiding can be predicted by researchers’ latent fear of being exploited (i.e., victim sensitivity), whether (b) this effect is mediated by researchers’ suspiciousness about their peers, and whether (c) activating researchers’ social identity alleviates or rather amplifies this effect. Study 1 (N = 93) shows that victim-sensitive researchers whose social identity as a “researcher” has been made salient are particularly prone to knowledge hiding. Study 2 (N = 97) helps explaining this effect: activating a social identity increases obstructive self-stereotyping among researchers. Study 3 (N = 272) replicates the effect of victim sensitivity on knowledge hiding via suspiciousness. Here, however, the effects of the same social identity activation were less straightforward. Together, these findings suggest that knowledge hiding in science can be explained by victim sensitivity and suspiciousness, and that making researchers’ social identity salient might even increase it in certain contexts.
Keywords: victim sensitivity, knowledge hiding, cooperation, social identity
Altenmüller, M. S., Fligge, M., & Gollwitzer, M. (2023). Among Us: Fear of Exploitation, Suspiciousness, and Social Identity Predict Knowledge Hiding Among Researchers. Social Psychological Bulletin, 18, 1-22. https://doi.org/10.32872/spb.10011
Publisher (Open Access): https://spb.psychopen.eu/index.php/spb/article/view/10011