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.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 390.
Date of creation: Oct 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?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2008-22, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
- Bruno S. Frey & Katja Rost, 2008. "Do Rankings Reflect Research Quality?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2443, CESifo Group Munich.
- 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-2008-10-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-EDU-2008-10-13 (Education)
- NEP-HPE-2008-10-13 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-IPR-2008-10-13 (Intellectual Property Rights)
- NEP-SOG-2008-10-13 (Sociology of Economics)
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