Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Reputation shemputation

Jacob Levy takes note of some new rankings of PhD-granting departments in political science published in The Chronicle of Higher Ed, using a methodology that does not incorporate institutional reputation. I’m not going to say that they’re implausible, but the fact that there’s one UC school ranked in the top ten and it’s not located in Berkeley or San Diego makes me a mite skeptical.

Update: Jacob has updated his post with some details about the methodology behind the rankings; as he notes, it probably gives too much credit to books for article-driven subfields like American and methods, and to a lesser extent IR.

I’d also comment that reputation, which most political science ranking systems to date have been largely based on, is by and large a lagging indicator; perhaps these rankings represent a useful leading indicator, particularly in book-driven fields like theory, but I wouldn’t find them of much use on their own.

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Well, I can’t argue with those grounds for skepticism!

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