Do Rankings Reflect Research Quality?
AbstractPublication and citation rankings have become major indicators of the scientific worth of universities and countries, and determine to a large extent the career of individual scholars. We argue that such rankings do not effectively measure research quality, which should be the essence of evaluation. For that reason, an alternative ranking is developed as a quality indicator, based on membership on academic editorial boards of professional journals. It turns out that especially the ranking of individual scholars is far from objective. The results differ markedly, depending on whether research quantity or research quality is considered. Even quantity rankings are not objective; two citation rankings, based on different samples, produce entirely different results. It follows that any career decisions based on rankings are dominated by chance and do not reflect research quality. Instead of propagating a ranking based on board membership as the gold standard, we suggest that committees make use of this quality indicator to find members who, in turn, evaluate the research quality of individual scholars.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) in its series CREMA Working Paper Series with number 2008-22.
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Rankings; Universities; Scholars; Publications; Citations;
Other versions of this item:
- Bruno S. Frey & Katja Rost, 2008. "Do Rankings Reflect Research Quality?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2443, CESifo Group Munich.
- Bruno S. Frey & Katja Rost, 2008. "Do Rankings Reflect Research Quality?," IEW - Working Papers 390, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
- L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
- O38 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-10-07 (All new papers)
- NEP-EDU-2008-10-07 (Education)
- NEP-HPE-2008-10-07 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-IPR-2008-10-07 (Intellectual Property Rights)
- NEP-LAB-2008-10-07 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-LAM-2008-10-07 (Central & South America)
- NEP-SOG-2008-10-07 (Sociology of Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Liebowitz, S J & Palmer, J P, 1984. "Assessing the Relative Impacts of Economic Journals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 77-88, March.
- Johnes, Geraint, 1988. "Determinants of research output in economics departments in British universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 171-178, June.
- Laurens Cherchye & Piet Vanden Abeele, 2002.
"On Research Efficiency: A Micro-Analysis of Dutch University Research in Economics and Business Management,"
Public Economics Working Paper Series
ces0206, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics.
- Cherchye, L. & Abeele, P. Vanden, 2005. "On research efficiency: A micro-analysis of Dutch university research in Economics and Business Management," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 495-516, May.
- Cherchye, Laurens & Vanden Abeele, Pierre, 2002. "On research efficiency: a micro-analysis of Dutch university research in economics and business management," Open Access publications from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven urn:hdl:123456789/138359, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
- Gale, D. & Chamley, C., 1992.
"Information Revelation and Strategic Delay in a Model of Investment,"
10, Boston University - Department of Economics.
- Chamley, Christophe & Gale, Douglas, 1994. "Information Revelation and Strategic Delay in a Model of Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 1065-85, September.
- Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992.
"A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
- Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
- Rigby, J. & Edler, J., 2005. "Peering inside research networks: Some observations on the effect of the intensity of collaboration on the variability of research quality," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 784-794, August.
- Nederhof, A. J. & van Raan, A. F. J., 1993. "A bibliometric analysis of six economics research groups: A comparison with peer review," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 353-368, August.
- Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
- Alberto Baccini & Lucio Barabesi, 2008. "Interlocking Editorship. A Network Analysis of the Links Between Economic Journals," Department of Economics University of Siena 532, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
- Hodgson, Geoffrey M & Rothman, Harry, 1999. "The Editors and Authors of Economics Journals: A Case of Institutional Oligopoly?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages F165-86, February.
- Moed, H. F. & Burger, W. J. M. & Frankfort, J. G. & Van Raan, A. F. J., 1985. "The use of bibliometric data for the measurement of university research performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 131-149, June.
- Stigler, George J & Stigler, Stephen M & Friedland, Claire, 1995. "The Journals of Economics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 331-59, April.
- Arthur M. Diamond Jr., 1986. "What is a Citation Worth?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(2), pages 200-215.
- Albers, Sönke, 2008. "Three Failed Attempts of Joint Rankings of Research in Economics and Business," MPRA Paper 12868, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Jan 2009.
- Katja Rost & Bruno S. Frey, 2011. "Quantitative and Qualitative Rankings of Scholars," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 63(1), pages 63-91, January.
- Daraio, Cinzia & Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Geuna, Aldo & Lepori, Benedetto & Bach, Laurent & Bogetoft, Peter & F. Cardoso, Margarida & Castro-Martinez, Elena & Crespi, Gustavo & de Lucio, Ignacio Fernandez, 2011. "The European university landscape: A micro characterization based on evidence from the Aquameth project," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 148-164, February.
- Müller, Harry, 2012. "Die Zitationshäufigkeit als Qualitätsindikator im Rahmen der Forschungsleistungsmessung," Discussion Papers of the Institute for Organisational Economics 1/2012, University of Münster, Institute for Organisational Economics.
- Michael Bräuninger & Justus Haucap & Johannes Muck, 2011. "Was lesen und schätzen deutschsprachige Ökonomen heute?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(4), pages 339-371, November.
- Bräuninger, Michael & Haucap, Justus & Muck, Johannes, 2011. "Was lesen und schätzen Ökonomen im Jahr 2011?," DICE Ordnungspolitische Perspektiven 18, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
- Kirchgässner, Gebhard, 2011.
"Kaderschmieden der Wirtschaft und/oder Universitäten? Der Auftrag der Wirtschaftsuniversitäten und -fakultäten im 21. Jahrhundert,"
Economics Working Paper Series
1107, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
- Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2011. "Kaderschmieden der Wirtschaft und/oder Universitäten? Der Auftrag der Wirtschaftsuniversitäten und –fakultäten im 21. Jahrhundert," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(3), pages 317-337, 08.
- Martin Eisend, 2011. "Is VHB-JOURQUAL2 a Good Measure of Scientific Quality? Assessing the Validity of the Major Business Journal Ranking in German-Speaking Countries," BuR - Business Research, German Academic Association for Business Research, vol. 4(2), pages 241-274, December.
- Monacciani, Fabiana, 2010. "University departments evaluation: a multivariate approach," MPRA Paper 24224, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Berlemann, Michael & Haucap, Justus, 2012.
"Which factors drive the decision to boycott and opt out of research rankings? A note,"
DICE Discussion Papers
72, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
- Michael Berlemann & Justus Haucap, 2012. "Which Factors Drive the Decision to Boycott and Opt Out of Research Rankings?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3997, CESifo Group Munich.
- Matthias Meyer & Rüdiger W. Waldkirch & Michael A. Zaggl, 2012. "Relative Performance Measurement of Researchers: The Impact of Data Source Selection," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 64(4), pages 308-330, October.
- Karol Paludkiewicz & Klaus Wohlrabe, 2010. "Qualitätsanalyse von Zeitschriften in den Wirtschaftswissenschaften – über Zitationsdatenbanken und Impaktfaktoren im Online-Zeitalter," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 63(21), pages 18-28, November.
- Rost, Katja, 2011. "The strength of strong ties in the creation of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 588-604, May.
- Sönke Albers, 2009. "Misleading Rankings of Research in Business," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10, pages 352-363, 08.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anna-Lea Werlen).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.