TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MIT: Moneyball and Faculty Rankings

Dimitris Bertsimas, Erik Brynjolfsson, Shachar Reichman & John M. Silberholz (all of  MIT), Moneyball for Academics: Network Analysis for Predicting Research Impact:

MoneyballHow are scholars ranked for promotion, tenure and honors? How can we improve the quantitative tools available for decision makers when making such decisions? Can we predict the academic impact of scholars and papers at early stages using quantitative tools?

Current academic decisions (hiring, tenure, prizes) are mostly very subjective. In the era of “Big Data,” a solid quantitative set of measurements should be used to support this decision process.

This paper presents a method for predicting the probability of a paper being in the most cited papers using only data available at the time of publication. We find that highly cited papers have different structural properties and that these centrality measures are associated with increased odds of being in the top percentile of citation count.

The paper also presents a method for predicting the future impact of researchers, using information available early in their careers. This model integrates information about changes in a young researcher’s role in the citation network and co-authorship network and demonstrates how this improves predictions of their future impact.

These results show that the use of quantitative methods can complement the qualitative decision-making process in academia and improve the prediction of academic impact.

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