nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2011‒12‒13
four papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. The Evaluation of Citation Distributions By Ruiz-Castillo, Javier
  2. The end of the European Paradox By Herranz, Neus; Ruiz-Castillo, Javier
  3. Multiplicative and fractional strategies when journals are assigned to several sub-fields By Herranz, Neus; Ruiz-Castillo, Javier
  4. Leadership Challenges In Today’s Academia By Dima, Alina Mihaela; Vasilache, Simona; Agoston, Simona; Ghinea, Valentina; Stamule, Tanase

  1. By: Ruiz-Castillo, Javier
    Abstract: This paper reviews a number of recent contributions that demonstrate that a blend of welfare economics and statistical analysis is useful in the evaluation of the citations received by scientific papers in the periodical literature. The paper begins by clarifying the role of citation analysis in the evaluation of research. Next, a summary of results about the citation distributions’ basic features at different aggregation levels is offered. These results indicate that citation distributions share the same broad shape, are highly skewed, and are often crowned by a power law. In light of this evidence, a novel methodology for the evaluation of research units is illustrated by comparing the high- and low-citation impact achieved by the U.S., the European Union, and the rest of the world in 22 scientific fields. However, contrary to recent claims, it is shown that mean normalization at the sub-field level does not lead to a universal distribution. Nevertheless, among other topics subject to ongoing research, it appears that this lack of universality does not preclude sensible normalization procedures to compare the citation impact of articles in different scientific fields.
    Keywords: citation analysis; power laws; research performance; welfare economics
    JEL: A11 A12 D60 I32
    Date: 2011–12
  2. By: Herranz, Neus; Ruiz-Castillo, Javier
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the European Paradox according to which Europe plays a leading world role in terms of scientific excellence, measured in terms of the number of publications, but lacks the entrepreneurial capacity of the U.S. to transform this excellent performance into innovation, growth, and jobs. Citation distributions for the U.S., the European Union (EU), and the rest of the world are evaluated using a pair of high- and low-impact indicators, as well as the mean citation rate. The dataset consists of 3.6 million articles published in 1998-2002 with a common five-year citation window. The analysis is carried at a low aggregation level: the 219 sub-fields identified with the Web of Science categories distinguished by Thomson Scientific. The problems posed by international co-authorship and the multiple assignments of articles to sub-fields are solved following a multiplicative strategy. We find that, although the EU has more publications than the U.S. in 113 out of 219 sub-fields, the U.S. is ahead of the EU in 189 and 163 sub-fields in terms of the high- and low-impact indicators. Furthermore, we verify that using the high-impact indicator the U.S./EU gap is usually greater than when using the mean citation rate.
    Keywords: citation analysis; European Paradox; journal classification; normalization; research performance; Web of Science categories
    JEL: O31 Y80 Z00
    Date: 2011–11
  3. By: Herranz, Neus; Ruiz-Castillo, Javier
    Abstract: In many datasets, articles are classified into sub-fields through the journals in which they have been published. The problem is that many journals are assigned to a single sub-field, but many others are assigned to several sub-fields. This paper discusses a multiplicative and a fractional strategy to deal with this situation, and introduces a normalization procedure in the multiplicative case that takes into account differences in mean citation rates across sub-fields. The empirical part studies different aspects of citation distributions under the two strategies, namely: (i) the number of articles, (ii) the mean citation rate, (iii) the broad shape of the distribution, (iv) the characterization in terms of size- and scale-invariant indicators of high- and low-impact, and (v) the presence of extreme distributions, or distributions that behave very differently from the rest. It is found that, in spite of large differences in the number of articles according to both strategies, the similarity of the citation characteristics of articles published in journals assigned to one or several sub-fields guarantees that choosing one of the two strategies may not lead to a radically different picture in practical applications. Nevertheless, the evaluation of citation excellence through a high-impact indicator may considerably differ depending on that choice.
    Keywords: citation analysis; European Paradox; journal classification; normalization; research performance; Web of Science categories
    JEL: O31 Y80 Z00
    Date: 2011–11
  4. By: Dima, Alina Mihaela; Vasilache, Simona; Agoston, Simona; Ghinea, Valentina; Stamule, Tanase
    Abstract: Starting from the anecdotic hypothesis that “leading academics is like trying to herd cats”, the paper reviews the main challenges and barriers to present academic leadership. The context is that of the on-going Bologna transformation of the university, and of the renewed quest for competitiveness. The method employed is that of the individual case-study, with a single-embedded design. The case study is exploratory, as we don’t know from sure which the effects of leadership in the university are, and to what degree are they alike, across sub-units of study. The case study is also intrinsic, as its main outcome is not theory-building, but understanding the particularities of a phenomenon strongly tied to its context. Our unit of study is the largest business university in the country, with its faculties and departments. The main data sources are short structured interviews with members of the academic staff. The analysis implies both explanation-building and cross-case synthesis. The results of the study give insights on the context of leadership, enablers and barriers, as well as on the content of leadership, in the particular setting of the academia. Conclusions connect our research with similar endeavours, outlining the particularities and patterns of educational transition in a transition country.
    Keywords: academic leadership; structural equation model of academic leadership; Romanian academia
    JEL: A23
    Date: 2011–11–21

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