Conducting pro-social research: cognitive diversity, research excellence and awareness about the social impact of research

Pablo D’Este, Oscar Llopis, Alfredo Yegros
We propose the concept of pro-social research as reflecting the adoption of conducts that place social relevance as a critical goal of research. We argue that pro-social conducts represent a behavioural antecedent of the actual engagement of scientists in knowledge transfer activities. Our study investigates the impact that different cognitive aspects have on the development of pro-social research behaviour. In particular, we examine if certain types of research skills (i.e. cognitive diversity and research excellence) have a positive impact in shaping a pro-social research behaviour and, more critically, if they act as substitutes for prior experience in knowledge transfer activities. The main source of data comes from a large scale survey conducted on all scientists at the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC).