There are underlying fundamentals and first principles, especially in STEM that continue to be built upon but can get neglected and forgotten over time without practice. Obviously having a great memory does not imply one would be successful academically, but do the more successful researchers tend to have better recollection than the average academic researcher?
Are there any studies that have looked into the relation between long-term memory and academic success?
I was able to find research that examines memory against academic achievement but it was done on children (Blankenship et al., 2015). The study found children with better long-term memory had better mathematical ability and language comprehension than the others. Working memory, on the other hand, was found to be correlated with all the standardized assessments as one might expect.
Blankenship, T. L., O'Neill, M., Ross, A., & Bell, M. A. (2015). Working memory and recollection contribute to academic achievement. Learning and individual differences, 43, 164-169.