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

Author

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  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Amanda H Goodall, 2005. "Should top universities be led by top researchers, and are they?," General Economics and Teaching 0510003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • 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.
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    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/get/papers/0510/0510003.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:reihed:v:59:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11162-017-9467-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Eberhard Feess & Marc Scheufen, 2016. "Academic copyright in the publishing game: a contest perspective," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 263-294, October.
    3. Goodall, Amanda H., 2012. "A Theory of Expert Leadership," IZA Discussion Papers 6566, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. repec:spr:scient:v:112:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2450-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:spr:scient:v:80:y:2009:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-009-2094-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Sadaf Roohi Tauqir & Syed Shahid Hussain & Sarwar M. Azhar, 2014. "The Role of Vice Chancellors to Promote Higher Education in Pakistan: A Critical Review of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan’s Reforms, 2002," South Asian Journal of Management Sciences (SAJMS), Iqra University, Iqra University, vol. 8(1), pages 46-59, Spring.
    7. 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).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    citations; leadership; world university rankings; university presidents;

    JEL classification:

    • A - General Economics and Teaching

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