Friday, 2 October 2015

ranking departments in German-speaking lands...

Once upon a time, a journalist had a good idea... that man was Oliver Störbeck, back then working for Handelsblatt, the German business newspaper. He wanted a ranking of German economics departments by research output, a league table of the kind we use internationally to see which place really scores in terms of papers. And the HB produced one, which caused quite a stir when they first did it in the 2000s. Interestingly, it is for "Greater Germany" -- Germany, Switzerland, Austria, i.e. all the places where German is spoken.

Störbeck at some point left, and is now working for Reuters in London. HB continues to produce a ranking, and they tinkered with the weights and scores. It is now compiled by an institute over at the ETH in Zurich, which runs a database of all publications by professors in the relevant departments. Over time, the weight on top publications declined... you can now get the same points for a few field journal papers combined as for a top general interest journal.

You can see the latest results here. Zurich ends up in third place overall, with 17 professors (while Munich and Bonn have 29 and 27 contributing to their score). Of course, you can play with the data a bit yourself, and find the ranking you like (and makes you look good). Try clicking on the A+ column, and the ranking changes. If you do it by top publications, you see that Zurich is where it belongs - at No. 1...

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