nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2011‒01‒03
seven papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. What Makes a Great Journal Great in the Sciences? Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg? By Chia-Lin Chang; Philip Hans Franses; Michael McAleer; Les Oxley
  2. The skewness of science in 219 sub-fields and a number of aggregates By Pedro Albarrán; Juan A. Crespo; Ignacio Ortuño; Javier Ruiz-Castillo
  3. La dissémination de la recherche en sciences économiques: les « cahiers de recherche » By Zimmermann, Christian
  4. The Allocation of Talent: Evidence from the Market of Economists By Boehm, Michael J.; Watzinger, Martin
  5. La production scientifique des enseignants-chercheurs en économie : Quelques résultats économétriques issus du dispositif PES By Jean-Yves Lesueur
  6. The Research Environment in Flux – Researchers’ Views on the Recent Changes in the Finnish Innovation System. Avainsanat: Innovaatiojärjestelmä, yliopistolaki, yliopistokeksintölaki, SHOK, tutkimusympäristö, innovaatiopolitiikka (in Finnish with an English abstract/summary) By Antti-Jussi Tahvanainen; Tuomo Nikulainen
  7. From Basic Research to Innovation: Entrepreneurial Intermediaries for Research Commercialization at Swedish ‘Strong Research Environments’ By Kitagawa, Fumi; Wigren, Caroline

  1. By: Chia-Lin Chang; Philip Hans Franses; Michael McAleer (University of Canterbury); Les Oxley (University of Canterbury)
    Abstract: The paper is concerned with analysing what makes a great journal great in the sciences, based on quantifiable Research Assessment Measures (RAM). Alternative RAM are discussed, with an emphasis on the Thomson Reuters ISI Web of Science database (hereafter ISI). Various ISI RAM that are calculated annually or updated daily are defined and analysed, including the classic 2-year impact factor (2YIF), 5-year impact factor (5YIF), Immediacy (or zero-year impact factor (0YIF)), Eigenfactor, Article Influence, C3PO (Citation Performance Per Paper Online), h-index, Zinfluence, PI-BETA (Papers Ignored - By Even The Authors), Impact Factor Inflation (IFI), and three new RAM, namely Historical Self-citation Threshold Approval Rating (H-STAR), 2 Year Self-citation Threshold Approval Rating (2Y-STAR), and Cited Article Influence (CAI). The RAM data are analysed for the 6 most highly cited journals in 20 highly-varied and well-known ISI categories in the sciences, where the journals are chosen on the basis of 2YIF. The application to these 20 ISI categories could be used as a template for other ISI categories in the sciences and social sciences, and as a benchmark for newer journals in a range of ISI disciplines. In addition to evaluating the 6 most highly cited journals in each of 20 ISI categories, the paper also highlights the similarities and differences in alternative RAM, finds that several RAM capture similar performance characteristics for the most highly cited scientific journals, determines that PI-BETA is not highly correlated with the other RAM, and hence conveys additional information regarding research performance. In order to provide a meta analysis summary of the RAM, which are predominantly ratios, harmonic mean rankings are presented of the 13 RAM for the 6 most highly cited journals in each of the 20 ISI categories. It is shown that emphasizing THE impact factor, specifically the 2-year impact factor, of a journal to the exclusion of other informative RAM can lead to a distorted evaluation of journal performance and influence on different disciplines, especially in view of inflated journal self citations.
    Keywords: Research Assessment Measures (RAM); impact factors; Immediacy; Eigenfactor; Article Influence; Cited Article Influence; h-index; C3PO; Zinfluence; PI-BETA; IFI; H-STAR; 2Y-STAR
    JEL: C45 C10 Z0
    Date: 2010–12–01
  2. By: Pedro Albarrán; Juan A. Crespo; Ignacio Ortuño; Javier Ruiz-Castillo
    Abstract: This paper studies evidence from Thomson Scientific about the citation process of 3.7 million articles published in the period 1998-2002 in 219 Web of Science categories, or sub-fields. Reference and citation distributions have very different characteristics across sub-fields. However, when analyzed with the Characteristic Scores and Scales technique, which is size and scale independent, the shape of these distributions appear extraordinarily similar. Reference distributions are mildly skewed, but citation distributions with a five-year citation window are highly skewed: the mean is twenty points above the median, while 9-10% of all articles in the upper tail account for about 44% of all citations. The aggregation of sub-fields into disciplines and fields according to several aggregation schemes preserve this feature of citation distributions. On the other hand, for 140 of the 219 sub-fields the existence of a power law cannot be rejected. However, contrary to what is generally believed, at the sub-field level the scaling parameter is above 3.5 most of the time, and power laws are relatively small: on average, they represent 2% of all articles and account for 13.5% of all citations. The results of the aggregation into disciplines and fields reveal that power law algebra is a subtle phenomenon.
    Date: 2010–10
  3. By: Zimmermann, Christian
    Abstract: Publishing articles in Economics involves long time frames of up to several years from submission to publication. Consequently, journal contents tend to lag behind what is happening on the research frontier. The most usual sources of information on frontier research are conferences and "working papers," which are photocopied documents that circulate among certain scientists. This practice is fostering the emergence of exclusive small groups and prevents third parties from participating in pioneering research. The Internet has radically changed possibilities for access to working papers, but Internet access still needs to be organized and to allow others to read one’s work. This article describes the RePEc initiative, which effectively places all economists on the same footing and has become an essential instrument in its field. Similar initiatives in other fields are also investigated.
    Keywords: economics; publication; research; working papers
    JEL: A14
    Date: 2010
  4. By: Boehm, Michael J.; Watzinger, Martin
    Abstract: Recent research in labor economics has highlighted the substantial and long-lasting adverse effect of recessions on employment prospects and earnings. In this paper, we study whether individuals react to these shocks by changing career paths and thereby affect the selection of talent into sectors. More concretely, we examine how the publication success and career choice of graduates from the leading US economics PhD programs varies with the state of the business cycle at application and at graduation. Our results strongly support the predictions of a Roy-style model of self-selection into sectors: We find that adverse macroeconomic conditions at application lead to a substantially more productive selection of individuals into academia and at graduation they lead to more PhDs deciding to stay in academia.
    Keywords: Sectoral Selection, Skill Composition, Business Cycle, Careers
    JEL: I29 J44 J24
    Date: 2010–06
  5. By: Jean-Yves Lesueur (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69003, France; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne, UMR 5824, 93, chemin des Mouilles, Ecully, F-69130, France; ENS-LSH, Lyon, France)
    Abstract: La littérature sur la mesure et les déterminants de la production scientifique des enseignantschercheurs s’est montrée particulièrement prolifique ces dix dernières années. Le cas français est particulièrement intéressant à étudier tant les successions de réformes en vue d’améliorer la position des universités françaises dans le classement de Shanghai se sont récemment succédées à un rythme effréné. La réforme du statut des enseignants chercheurs et l’application progressive de la loi du 10 août 2007 Liberté et Responsabilité des Universités ont ouvert un changement structurel profond dans le management des ressources humaines au sein des universités françaises. Dans ce contexte, si la littérature s’est intéressée aux critères de mesure de la production scientifique, rares sont les études qui ont pu contrôler, lors de l’évaluation de la production scientifique, les multiples facettes qui animent l’activité d’un enseignant-chercheur à partir d’une même base statistique. La mise en place en France depuis 2009 de la Prime d’Excellence Scientifique (PES) offre une base de données originale et particulièrement adaptée à cette attente à deux niveaux. D’une part la procédure de sélection des candidats respecte les conditions d’une logique de tournoi bien connue des économistes du travail. D’autre part la richesse des données permet de contrôler les différentes dimensions de l’activité des enseignants – chercheurs ainsi que leur environnement de recherche lors de l’étude des facteurs explicatifs de leur production scientifique. Nous exploitons dans cet article les données relatives aux candidats de la première campagne de la PES 2009 appartenant au domaine des sciences économiques. L’économétrie des données censurée est utilisée en mobilisant deux critères de mesure de la production scientifique, l’un qualitatif l’autre quantitatif. Les résultats économétriques obtenus confirment l’existence d’un effet Saint Matthieu lié au cycle de vie de la production scientifique. L’étude complète les rares résultats délivrés par la littérature sur les économistes français.
    Keywords: Scientific productivity, academic promotion, tournament, Saint Matthieu effect, Lotka Law
    JEL: J3 J4 C5 M5
    Date: 2010
  6. By: Antti-Jussi Tahvanainen; Tuomo Nikulainen
    Abstract: This study examines the researcher’s perspective on the impact of recent major changes in the Finnish research environment. Three virtually simultaneous changes are of special importance. The first is the on-going renewal of the Universities Act governing the Finnish higher education system in its entirety. The second change is the foundation of the so-called Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation that aim at establishing and re-enforcing long-term research cooperation between the academia and the Industry. The final change is the enactment of the new University Inventions Act in early January 2007. Surveying the opinions of roughly 1700 researchers active in different fields of science and working at 11 different Finnish research universities, the study aims to map the experiences of researchers regarding the reform-induced changes in the operational environment and implementation of research. In general the study concludes that all three reforms have been pessimistically received among the respondents. Benefits related to alleged improvements in the preconditions for academic research, in particular, elicited strong disagreement. Researchers anticipate a swell in administrative burden, and do not believe in a general increase in the quality of research. In addition, claims related to increases in the lengths of research projects and funding cycles are rejected systematically. Instead, researchers believe that the reforms promote commercialism in the university environment. This does not entail greater incentives for researchers to participate in the commercialization of their research outputs, however. Such claims were largely rejected by the respondents. The pessimistic results convey the impression that the commercialization of the university environment is being implemented at the cost of academic research.
    JEL: O30 O38 O33 O34
    Date: 2010–12–22
  7. By: Kitagawa, Fumi (University of Bristol); Wigren, Caroline (CIRCLE, Lund University)
    Abstract: The recent rise in university-industry partnerships has stimulated an important public policy debate degrading the theoretical rationale for government support for knowledge transfer/exchanges from higher education sector. This paper draws on a particular case study conducted at Lund University, which is the largest comprehensive research university in Sweden. We ask the role of fundamental research at the university and organizational responses to growing expectations with respect to its subsequent use and applications, particularly those of ‘Centres of research excellence’. We identify new forms of intermediary organizations as ‘brokers on the boundaries’ which bridge the gap between everyday scientific activities of researchers, entrepreneurial activities of academics, and more centralized forms of strategic initiatives taken by an ‘entrepreneurial university’ as an organizational actor. The paper concludes by identifying organizational strategic choices and constraints, and implications for rapidly changing higher education and research policies in Sweden and beyond.
    Keywords: Academic Entrepreneurship; Sweden
    JEL: O30
    Date: 2010–01–01

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