Today, most scientific institutions acknowledge the importance of opening the so-called “ivory tower” of academic research through popularization, industrial innovation or teaching. However, little is known about the actual openness of scientific institutions and how their proclaimed priorities translate into concrete measures. This paper helps getting an idea on the actual practices by studying three key points: the proportion of researchers who are active in dissemination, the academic productivity of these active scientists, and the institutional recognition of their activity in terms of careers.
This paper answers these questions by analysing extensive data about the academic production, career recognition and teaching or public/industrial outreach of several thousand CNRS scientists from many disciplines. We find that, contrary to what is often suggested, scientists active in dissemination are also more active academically. However, their dissemination activities have almost no impact (positive or negative) on their career.