IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/taf/recsxx/v13y2010i1p1-38.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Do Rankings Reflect Research Quality?

Author

Listed:
  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Katja Rost

Abstract

Publication and citation rankings have become major indicators of the scientific worth of universities and determine to a large extent the career of individual scholars. Such rankings do not effectively measure research quality, which should be the essence of any evaluation. These quantity rankings are not objective; two citation rankings, based on different samples, produce entirely different results. 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 the ranking of individual scholars based on that measure is far from objective. Furthermore, the results differ markedly, depending on whether research quantity or quality is considered. Thus, career decisions based on rankings are dominated by chance and do not reflect research quality. We suggest that evaluations should rely on multiple criteria. Public management should return to approved methods such as engaging independent experts who in turn provide measurements of research quality for their research communities.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey & Katja Rost, 2010. "Do Rankings Reflect Research Quality?," Journal of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 1-38, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:recsxx:v:13:y:2010:i:1:p:1-38
    DOI: 10.1016/S1514-0326(10)60002-5
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/S1514-0326(10)60002-5
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/S1514-0326(10)60002-5?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Johnes, Geraint, 1988. "Determinants of research output in economics departments in British universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 171-178, June.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Frederic S. Lee, 2007. "The Research Assessment Exercise, the state and the dominance of mainstream economics in British universities," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(2), pages 309-325, March.
    6. Laband, David N & Piette, Michael J, 1994. "The Relative Impacts of Economics Journals: 1970-1990," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 640-666, June.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
    10. Kaufman, George G, 1984. "Rankings of Finance Departments by Faculty Representation on Editorial Boards of Professional Journals: A Note," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1189-1197, September.
    11. Chamley, Christophe & Gale, Douglas, 1994. "Information Revelation and Strategic Delay in a Model of Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 1065-1085, September.
    12. Guan, Jiancheng & Ma, Nan, 2007. "China's emerging presence in nanoscience and nanotechnology: A comparative bibliometric study of several nanoscience `giants'," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 880-886, July.
    13. Groot, Tom & Garcia-Valderrama, Teresa, 2006. "Research quality and efficiency: An analysis of assessments and management issues in Dutch economics and business research programs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1362-1376, November.
    14. Tijssen, Robert J. W. & van Wijk, Erik, 1999. "In search of the European Paradox: an international comparison of Europe's scientific performance and knowledge flows in information and communication technologies research," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 519-543, June.
    15. 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 165-186, February.
    16. Rinia, E. J. & van Leeuwen, Th. N. & van Vuren, H. G. & van Raan, A. F. J., 1998. "Comparative analysis of a set of bibliometric indicators and central peer review criteria: Evaluation of condensed matter physics in the Netherlands," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 95-107, May.
    17. 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.
    18. 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 331-359, April.
    19. 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.
    20. Arthur M. Diamond Jr., 1986. "What is a Citation Worth?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(2), pages 200-215.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. 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.
    2. Groot, Tom & Garcia-Valderrama, Teresa, 2006. "Research quality and efficiency: An analysis of assessments and management issues in Dutch economics and business research programs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1362-1376, November.
    3. Kocher, Martin G & Sutter, Matthias, 2001. "The Institutional Concentration of Authors in Top Journals of Economics during the Last Two Decades," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(472), pages 405-421, June.
    4. Matthias Sutter & Martin G. Kochner, 2001. "Power laws of research output. Evidence for journals of economics," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 51(2), pages 405-414, June.
    5. Boğaçhan Çelen & Kyle Hyndman, 2012. "An experiment of social learning with endogenous timing," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 16(2), pages 251-268, September.
    6. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, 2004. "The Measurement of Intellectual Influence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 963-977, May.
    7. Koessler, Frédéric & Noussair, Charles & Ziegelmeyer, Anthony, 2008. "Parimutuel betting under asymmetric information," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(7-8), pages 733-744, July.
    8. Davide Crapis & Bar Ifrach & Costis Maglaras & Marco Scarsini, 2017. "Monopoly Pricing in the Presence of Social Learning," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 63(11), pages 3586-3608, November.
    9. Levin, Dan & Peck, James, 2008. "Investment dynamics with common and private values," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 114-139, November.
    10. Tao Wang, 2011. "Dynamic Equilibrium Bunching," Working Paper 1291, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    11. Jonathan E. Alevy & Michael S. Haigh & John List, 2006. "Information Cascades: Evidence from An Experiment with Financial Market Professionals," NBER Working Papers 12767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Stone, Daniel F. & Miller, Steven J., 2013. "Leading, learning and herding," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 222-231.
    13. Matthias Aistleitner & Jakob Kapeller & Stefan Steinerberger, 2018. "Citation Patterns in Economics and Beyond," Working Papers Series 85, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    14. Louise Allsopp, 2004. "An Experiment to Investigate the Externalities of Search," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 80(251), pages 423-435, December.
    15. Eduardo A. Haddad & Jesus P. Mena-Chalco, Otávio J.G. Sidone, 2016. "Produção Científica e Redes de Colaboração dos Docentes Vinculados aos Programas de Pós-graduação em Economia no Brasil," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2016_10, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    16. Banerjee, Abhijit & Fudenberg, Drew, 2004. "Word-of-mouth learning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-22, January.
    17. Minehart, Deborah & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1999. "Ex Post Regret and the Decentralized Sharing of Information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 114-131, April.
    18. Daron Acemoglu & Asuman Ozdaglar, 2011. "Opinion Dynamics and Learning in Social Networks," Dynamic Games and Applications, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 3-49, March.
    19. Corgnet, Brice & DeSantis, Mark & Porter, David, 2021. "Information aggregation and the cognitive make-up of market participants," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    20. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2003:i:21:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Schivardi, Fabiano, 2003. "Reallocation and learning over the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 95-111, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:recsxx:v:13:y:2010:i:1:p:1-38. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.tandfonline.com/recs .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Chris Longhurst (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.tandfonline.com/recs .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.