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The Objective Measurement of World-Leading Research

Author

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  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    () (University of Warwick)

Abstract

How should the productivity of research universities be measured? This task is difficult but important. The recent Research Excellence Framework in the UK, which was based on peer review, suggests that there has been a marked improvement in UK academic research in economics and in many other subjects. But is it possible to design an objective check on, and measure of, a nation's 'world-leading research'? Following a variant of a method developed in Oswald (2010), I examine citations data on 450 genuinely world-leading journal articles over the Research Excellence Framework period 2008-2014. The UK produced 54 of these articles, namely, 12%. This compares to 45 articles, namely 10%, using the same methodology over the Research Assessment Exercise period 2001-2008. I conclude that it is possible to produce an objective measure of world-leading research, and that UK economics did show a small improvement.

Suggested Citation

  • Oswald, Andrew J., 2015. "The Objective Measurement of World-Leading Research," IZA Discussion Papers 8829, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8829
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. DREZE, Jacques & ESTEVAN, Fernanda, 2006. "Research and higher education in economics: can we deliver the Lisbon objectives ?," CORE Discussion Papers 2006051, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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    6. Amanda H Goodall, 2005. "Should Research Universities be Led by Top Researchers? Part 1: Are they?," HEW 0506003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gianni De Fraja & Giovanni Facchini & John Gathergood, 2016. "How Much Is That Star in the Window? Professorial Salaries and Research Performance in UK Universities," Discussion Papers 2016-13, University of Nottingham, GEP.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economics of science; evaluation; European economics; United Kingdom; peer-review; Research Excellence Framework (REF); citations; Research Assessment Exercise (RAE);

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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