Weird question: is there any data on how publication of a meta-analysis affects the rate at which subsequent researchers publish effect size estimates that could have been included in that meta-analysis? For instance, after someone publishes a meta-analysis of the effect of [thing] on [other thing], do subsequent researchers do fewer studies of the effect of [thing] on [other thing] than they otherwise would have? Perhaps thinking that we now know the answer, so it’s time to move on to studying something else.
Or maybe not. After all, lots of factors affect individual researcher decisions on what studies to conduct, besides “has this topic already been meta-analyzed?” And there certainly are cases in ecology in which a meta-analysis was followed years later by a second meta-analysis on the same topic, incorporating new studies that were published after the first meta-analysis.
It would be hard to prove causality here. For instance, if a meta-analysis is published, and subsequent researchers publish few studies of that topic, well, maybe that’s because interest in the topic was starting to wind down anyway. It didn’t wind down because the meta-analysis was published.
Anyone know of any data on this?
I ask about this because I’m interested in what drives the collective waxing and waning of research effort on a given topic.