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How Journal Rankings can suppress Interdisciplinary Research – A Comparison between Innovation Studies and Business & Management

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  • Ismael Rafols
  • Loet Leydesdorff
  • Alice O'Hare
  • Paul Nightingale
  • Andy Stirling

Abstract

This study provides new quantitative evidence on how journal rankings can disadvantage interdisciplinary research during research evaluations. Using publication data, it compares the degree of interdisciplinarity and the research performance of innovation studies units with business and management schools in the UK. Using various mappings and metrics, this study shows that: (i) innovation studies units are consistently more interdisciplinary than business and management schools; (ii) the top journals in the Association of Business Schools’ rankings span a less diverse set of disciplines than lower ranked journals; (iii) this pattern results in a more favourable performance assessment of the business and management schools, which are more disciplinary-focused. Lastly, it demonstrates how a citation-based analysis challenges the ranking-based assessment. In summary, the investigation illustrates how ostensibly ‘excellence-based’ journal rankings have a systematic bias in favour of mono-disciplinary research. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications of these phenomena, in particular how resulting bias is likely to affect negatively the evaluation and associated financial resourcing of interdisciplinary organisations, and may encourage researchers to be more compliant with disciplinary authority.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 11-05.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:11-05

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Web page: http://www.druid.dk/

Related research

Keywords: Interdisciplinary; Evaluation; Ranking; Innovation; Bibliometrics; REF;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Tommy Clausen & Jan Fagerberg & Magnus Gulbrandsen, 2012. "Mobilizing for Change: A Study of Research Units in Emerging Scientific Fields," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20120319, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
  2. Brooks, Chris & Fenton, Evelyn M. & Walker, James T., 2014. "Gender and the evaluation of research," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 990-1001.
  3. R. Martin, Ben & Nightingale, Paul & Yegros-Yegros, Alfredo, 2011. "Science and Technology Studies: Exploring the Knowledge Base," INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Working Paper Series 201110, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV).
  4. Fagerberg, Jan & Landström, Hans & Martin, Ben R., 2012. "Exploring the emerging knowledge base of ‘the knowledge society’," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 1121-1131.

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