Published: Nov. 3, 2023 By

Aaron Clauset, a professor in the Department of Computer Science, is the first computer science faculty member to be recognized with the Dean's Award for Research since the category began in 2005.

"It's a great honor to represent our department in this way," Clauset said. 

The award for Clauset's research recognizes his outstanding contributions to the 'science of science', which combine advanced computational techniques with rich empirical data to shed new light on the origin and consequences of inequalities within the academic workforce, and how those inequalities shape who makes what scientific discoveries.

In 2022, he and his co-authors, including 4 CU doctoral students, published a string of high-impact studies examining: 

  • The high socioeconomic backgrounds of academic faculty, particularly at elite universities

  • The role of social networks in shaping the productivity and prominence of scholars

  • The way labor advantages at elite universities allow them to dominate scientific discourse

  • How prestige dominates the hiring networks for academic faculty,

  • How Clauset’s field of computer science tends to devalue computing subfields with greater proportions of women researchers.

These studies received substantial national and international attention, reflecting the broad interest in understanding how to make science more inclusive and more efficient, including coverage in Nature, Science, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

But how do you find evidence for these claims? This is where Clauset and his co-authors use computational modeling to draw out evidence from large data sets.