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Should Research Universities be Led by Top Researchers? Part 1: Are they?

  • Amanda H Goodall

    (Warwick University Business School)

If the best universities in the world – who have the widest choice of candidates – systematically appoint top researchers as their vice chancellors and presidents, is this one form of evidence that, on average, better researchers make better leaders? This paper addresses the first part of the question: are they currently appointing distinguished researchers? The study documents a positive correlation between the lifetime citations of a university’s president and the position of that university in a world ranking. The lifetime citations are counted by hand of the leaders of the top 100 universities identified by the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in their ‘Academic Ranking of World Universities’ (2004). These numbers are then normalised by adjusting for the different citation conventions across academic disciplines. The results are not driven by outliers. This paper posits the theory that there are two central components involved in leading research universities: managerial expertise and inherent knowledge. It is suggested here that active and successful researchers may have greater inherent knowledge about the academy that in turn informs their role as leader.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series HEW with number 0506003.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 17 Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwphe:0506003
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 34. The focus is on leaders of research universities. It draws heavily from citations data.
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  1. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & John L. Cheslock & Julia Epifantseva, 2000. "Paying our Presidents: What do Trustees Value?," NBER Working Papers 7886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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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