Friday, May 09, 2014

Prestige

This piece in The Economist doesn't sound correct to me. It describes a study of the citations achieved by physicists who move from one institution to another to evaluate whether more prestigious institutions inherently produce better research. I have no idea how the researchers may have controlled for the reasons and timing behind a move nor am I convinced that citations are a good pathway to an evaluation of the quality of research.

In any case however, I strongly suspect that success breeds success, regardless of institution.

4 comments:

Douglas Natelson said...

I'm with you. It would be very hard to untangle everything here. Correlation and causation are particularly tough - I'm pretty sure that one reason someone could get recruited by a more prestigious institution could be a body of productive work, for example, that might be career-defining. It's also hard to believe that an improved quantity of resources and quality of students has no impact on productivity.

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