Sebastian Galiani, Ramiro Gálvez, 10 June 2017

Researchers are evaluated using citation counts, often with a cut-off date. But this column shows that the lifecycle of citations differs between disciplines, with some subjects having earlier peaks or steeper declines in annual citations than others. These differences should be taken into account when evaluating researchers or institutions.

Pierre Régibeau, Katharine Rockett, 13 October 2016

Systematic assessments of the research performance of academic institutions are increasingly common around the world. A key question for the design of such systems is whether and how bibliometrics should be incorporated. This column argues that bibliometrics can perform well at identifying quality in some fields, while providing cost-effective and transparent review. Peer review is found to be no guarantor of quality, though it may be essential in the evaluation of certain fields.

Christian Catalini, Christian Fons-Rosen, Patrick Gaulé, 16 July 2016

Scientific research is increasingly the product of collaborations between researchers. One driver of this trend over the last half century has been falling communication costs. This column uses data on faculty members of chemistry departments in the US to explore whether the reduction in air travel costs over the last three decades has had a similar effect on scientific collaboration. The introduction of a low-cost carrier route is associated with a 50% increase in collaborations between researchers.

Daniel Hamermesh, 14 December 2015

Academic economists, like any other group of professionals, are extremely competitive and concerned with measuring their own success. This column argues that that one cannot rank individual scholars’ achievements by the traditional summary measures, such as where their research is published or the institution with which they are affiliated. Properly judging success in economics requires paying attention to individual outcomes, not to aggregates that are poor signals of the individual results of which they are comprised.

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