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Should top universities be led by top researchers, and are they?

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Author Info

  • Amanda H Goodall

    (Warwick Business School)

Abstract

This paper addresses the question: should the world’s top universities be led by top researchers, and are they? The lifetime citations are counted by hand of the leaders of the world’s top 100 universities identified in a global university ranking. These numbers are then normalised by adjusting for the different citation conventions across academic disciplines. Two statistical measures are used -- Pearson’s correlation coefficient and Spearman’s rho. This study documents a positive correlation between the lifetime citations of a university’s president and the position of that university in the global ranking. Better universities are run by better researchers. The results are not driven by outliers. That the top universities in the world -- who have the widest choice of candidates -- systematically appoint top researchers as their vice chancellors and presidents seems important to understand. There are two main areas of contribution. First, this paper attempts to use bibliometric data to address a performance-related question of a type not seen before (to the author’s knowledge). Second, despite the importance of research to research universities -- as described in many mission-statements -- no studies currently exist that ask whether it matters if the head of a research university is himself or herself a committed researcher. Given the importance of universities in the world, and the difficulty that many have in appointing leaders, this question seems pertinent.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/get/papers/0510/0510003.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series General Economics and Teaching with number 0510003.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 11 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpgt:0510003

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 38. This paper is about leadership in universities. It uses citations data and draws from university league tables.
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords: citations; leadership; world university rankings; university presidents;

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References

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  1. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1994. "Facts and Myths about Refereeing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 153-163, Winter.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Goodall, Amanda H., 2012. "A Theory of Expert Leadership," IZA Discussion Papers 6566, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Goodall, Amanda H. & McDowell, John M. & Singell, Larry D., 2014. "Leadership and the Research Productivity of University Departments," IZA Discussion Papers 7903, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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