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Academic human capital in universities: definition and proposal of a measurement scale
Science and Public Policy  (IF2.725),  Pub Date : 2021-08-20, DOI: 10.1093/scipol/scab062
Natalia García-Carbonell, Félix Guerrero-Alba, Fernando Martín-Alcázar, Gonzalo Sánchez-Gardey

Academic human capital (AHC) is a key element in the explanation of scientific productivity. However, few studies have analysed this topic in the academic context, and their conclusions about composition and measurement remain ambiguous. This study proposes a measurement scale to assess AHC, following a systemic procedure composed of two steps: qualitative and quantitative phases. First, the Delphi technique was applied to reach a consensus on the AHC factors, resulting in a scale of 22 items. Second, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to determine the underlying factorial structure of the scale, using a sample of 2,223 researchers in Spanish universities. The results provided a five-dimensional structure of AHC, measuring the knowledge and abilities required to perform research activities, as well as skills related to the organisation of scientific processes, alertness to research opportunities, and the openness to provide and receive criticism. This study poses interesting challenges for knowledge management in universities.