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Comparing the research productivity of social work doctoral programs using the h-Index


  • Thomas E. Smith

    (Florida State University)

  • Kat S. Jacobs

    (Florida State University)

  • Philip J. Osteen

    (The University of Utah)

  • T. Edison Carter

    (Florida State University)


The purpose of the study was to examine the productivity of faculty in social work doctoral programs. This study builds on previous investigations on the scholarship of social work faculty using the h-Index (i.e., citation analysis). This study examined the scholarly productivity of the full population (N = 1699) of tenure-track faculty in all 76 United States social work doctoral programs by analyzing the h-Index scores of each program. Information on funding sources, regional location, year of establishment, and faculty demographics was collected to better understand why faculty and programs differ in their h-Index. A hierarchical regression analysis was used in creating a predictive model. The final model explained 51% of the variance in h-Index scores (R2 = .51). Academic rank was the strongest predictor of school h-Index. Each school’s faculty size, gender proportion, region, college age, and auspice also contributed to the predictive power of the model. The proportion of senior faculty (Associate Professors and Full Professors) and college age were the strongest predictors based on standardized regression coefficients. The finding that academic rank contributed the most variance to the regression model provides empirical support to the long-argued importance of publication in career advancement. The overall results of the model confirm that institutional factors such as faculty size, region, and auspice do have unique effects on research productivity even after accounting for individual level differences in faculty across diverse social work programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas E. Smith & Kat S. Jacobs & Philip J. Osteen & T. Edison Carter, 2018. "Comparing the research productivity of social work doctoral programs using the h-Index," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 116(3), pages 1513-1530, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:116:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-018-2832-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-018-2832-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. T. Edison Carter & Thomas E. Smith & Philip J. Osteen, 2017. "Gender comparisons of social work faculty using H-Index scores," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 111(3), pages 1547-1557, June.
    2. Jordan, John M. & Meador, Mark & Walters, Stephen J. K., 1989. "Academic research productivity, department size and organization: Further results," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 345-352, August.
    3. Lisa Geraci & Steve Balsis & Alexander J. Busch Busch, 2015. "Gender and the h index in psychology," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 105(3), pages 2023-2034, December.
    4. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren & Patrick Kline & Emmanuel Saez, 2014. "Where is the land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 129(4), pages 1553-1623.
    5. Anne‐Wil Harzing & Ron van der Wal, 2009. "A Google Scholar h‐index for journals: An alternative metric to measure journal impact in economics and business," Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 60(1), pages 41-46, January.
    6. Andrea Diem & Stefan C. Wolter, 2011. "The Use of Bibliometrics to Measure Research Performance in Education Sciences," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0066, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised May 2013.
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