Rankings Games

University of Zurich Department of Economics Working Paper No. 39

33 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2011

See all articles by Bruno S. Frey

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Margit Osterloh

University of Basel; Professor (em.) University of Zurich

Date Written: August 2011


Research rankings based on publications and citations today dominate governance of academia. Yet they have unintended side effects on individual scholars and academic institutions and can be counter productive. They induce a substitution of the “taste for science” by a “taste for publication”. We suggest as alternatives careful selection and socialization of scholars, supplemented by periodic self-evaluations and awards. Neither should rankings be a basis for the distributions of funds within universities. Rather, qualified individual scholars should be supported by basic funds to be able to engage in new and unconventional research topics and methods.

Keywords: Academic governance, rankings, motivation, selection, socialization

JEL Classification: A10, D02, H83, L23, M50

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Osterloh, Margit, Rankings Games (August 2011). University of Zurich Department of Economics Working Paper No. 39, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1957162 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1957162

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

Margit Osterloh

University of Basel ( email )

Petersplatz 1
Basel, CH-4003

Professor (em.) University of Zurich ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zürich, CH-8008

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