The Evaluation of Scholarship in Economics
Kenyon's criteria for evaluating scholarship in economics should focus on evidence of the quality and vitality of one's scholarship. Number of publications, per se, would not be a useful measure of scholarly productivity. Giving great weight to the number of publications would likely generate undesirable incentives for faculty to speed their research output by (1) submitting articles to mediocre journals (which feature much shorter decision lags, a higher probability of acceptance, and a smaller readership than do the higher-rated journals), (2) narrowing the focus of their research program, (3) continuing to use the same data base instead of constructing new ones, or (4) declining to engage in collaborative research with students.
To avoid these undesirable incentives Kenyon should emphasize an evaluation of the quality of both publications and other scholarly activities. The Kenyon economics faculty evaluates scholarship for its originality and quality of economic reasoning. For empirical scholarship we also evaluate its econometric sophistication and the effectiveness of its use of data.
Because we think co-authoring is vital to scholarly productivity, the department encourages its members to co-author research and we treat co-authored scholarship with equal weight compared to single-author scholarship. To be clear, and as an example, we do not treat a publication written with a colleague as worth one-half of a single-authored publication. Rather, a co-authored publication is every bit as desirable as a single-authored publication. Over a career, scholarship produced with different co-authors is a sign of healthy engagement in the profession.
The evidence of scholarship in economics cited below is an illustrative, not an exhaustive, listing.
Evidence of Scholarship in Economics:
I. Published Professional Work
Published professional work is the best evidence of the scholarship which Kenyon expects of its faculty. Publications which are cited frequently or appear in highly rated journals should be given more weight than those which are seldom cited or appear in lower-rated journals. The quality of a journal can be measured by its perceived prestige and by the frequency with which its articles are cited. As one indicator of an article's quality, the economics faculty will review the frequency of citations of the journal in which the article appears (over the past five years) by reference to recent issues of the Journal Citation Report. These are the sorts of desirable publications in economics (in approximate order of value to Kenyon):
- Refereed journal articles (accounting for the number of citations of the article and for the quality of journal)
- Books (including textbooks)
- Chapters or articles in books
- Comments on or replies to other articles
- Research monographs
- Reviews of articles or books, or the editing of a volume of articles
- Electronic publications on external web sites
II. Steps Toward Publication
Although less desirable than actual publications, steps toward publication are significant evidence of scholarly activity. These indicators of progress, arranged in order of their approximate value to Kenyon, are:
- Receipt of a "revise and resubmit" response from a refereed journal
- Submission of an article to a refereed journal
- Presentation of a paper at a professional conference, or at a college or university seminar
- Completion of a working paper
- Presentations at Kenyon which provide evidence of one's scholarship (departmental seminars, collegiate lectures, participation on collegiate panels, etc.)
III. Other Desirable Forms or Evidence of Scholarship
While not quite as valuable as the accomplishments listed above, the following activities are features of scholarly activity which are valuable to Kenyon. They are listed in no particular order of their value to Kenyon.
- Chairing or participating in panels at professional meetings
- Consulting or public service based on scholarship, whether or not this leads to publication
- Invited lectures, or serving as an outside reviewer or examiner
- Writing and submission of grant proposals
- Service to a professional or educational organization (e.g., AEA, NSF, ETS, ACT)
- Departmental collegiality (comments on or suggestions to other department faculty in departmental seminars or in private conversation, comments on colleagues' drafts of written work in progress)
- Written reports as a journal referee
- Collaborative research with Kenyon students