The characteristics of early-stage research into human genes are substantially different from subsequent research
Throughout the last 2 decades, several scholars observed that present day research into human genes rarely turns toward genes that had not already been extensively investigated in the past. Guided by hypotheses derived from studies of science and innovation, we present here a literature-wide data-driven meta-analysis to identify the specific scientific and organizational contexts that coincided with early-stage research into human genes throughout the past half century. We demonstrate that early-stage research into human genes differs in team size, citation impact, funding mechanisms, and publication outlet, but that generalized insights derived from studies of science and innovation only partially apply to early-stage research into human genes. Further, we demonstrate that, presently, genome biology accounts for most of the initial early-stage research, while subsequent early-stage research can engage other life sciences fields. We therefore anticipate that the specificity of our findings will enable scientists and policymakers to better promote early-stage research into human genes and increase overall innovation within the life sciences.