Do we need highly cited departmental chairs?

Amanda Goodall, John McDowell, Larry Singell, 31 January 2014

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The advancement of scientific knowledge is the primary responsibility of approximately 300,000 academic departments housed in more than 20,000 universities worldwide, yet little is known about the factors that determine the productivity of those departments. chairs – or ‘Heads of Department’ – play a central role in the academic departments that make up universities.

Topics: Education
Tags: academia, higher education, Management, Universities

Our uneconomic methods of measuring economic research

Stan Liebowitz, 6 December 2013

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In the movie Moneyball, a nerdy Ivy League economics major, working for a general manager played by Brad Pitt, found undervalued baseball players by applying clear-headed logic and statistical techniques.1 Many economists watching this movie probably felt a tinge of pride in seeing our tools portrayed as rigorously objective.

Topics: Education
Tags: academia, citations, journals, productivity, publication, research

Journal quality and citations: Why economists should practice what they preach

Daniel Sgroi, 11 November 2013

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The UK is about to enter into one of the most important academic ranking exercises in its history. The Research Excellence Framework (or REF), starting in 2014, will determine how money is divided between departments and how the UK perceives the quality of its own universities and departments.

Topics: Education
Tags: academia, Bayes’ rule, higher education, journals, rankings, uncertainty

Herding cats? Management and university performance

John McCormack, Carol Propper, Sarah Smith, 7 November 2013

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The common view holds that managing academics is like herding cats – difficult and ultimately pointless. But this view of management contrasts with growing evidence that good management practices are like a good technology – they increase productivity (Bloom and Van Reenen 2010).

Topics: Education, Labour markets
Tags: academia, higher education, human resources, Management, Universities

Ageing and productivity: Economists and others

Daniel S. Hamermesh, 20 February 2013

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Sixty years ago, Harvey Lehman published a path-breaking book examining the lifecycle of productivity in various fields, scientific, humanistic and artistic (Lehman 1953). He demonstrated the now widely accepted conclusion that the contributions of mathematicians and people in mathematics-related disciplines peak very early in their careers.

Topics: Frontiers of economic research, Productivity and Innovation
Tags: academia, age, economists, Nobel, research, technology

Are leading papers in an issue of a journal of better “quality”?

Victor Ginsburgh, 25 May 2012

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There exists a lively debate among scientists about evaluation methods. Some prefer peer review-based research assessments, while others think that bibliometric citation-based methods should be used as a verifiable mechanism for promotion and distribution of public research funds. Like peer reviews, but for other reasons, citations suffer from several problems.

Topics: Education, Frontiers of economic research
Tags: academia, academic papers, evaluation, quality control

Does gender matter for academic promotion? Evidence from a randomised natural experiment

Natalia Zinovyeva, Manuel F. Bagues, 19 December 2010

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Women have historically been under-represented in top academic positions. For years, this under-representation was partly the result of the smaller number of women obtaining doctorates.

Topics: Global governance
Tags: academia, gender, sexism

Expert fiddling

Stuart Macdonald, 4 April 2010

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Are academics telling porkies? Are drugs really less dangerous than horse-riding? Are Himalayan glaciers really melting? Politicians are beginning to wonder – which can do little for their faith in evidence-based policy.

Topics: Environment, Frontiers of economic research
Tags: academia, climate change, Copenhagen

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