Research Quality vs. Research Quantity

I recently read on LinkedIn how a department head bragged about how many papers his team published in highly ranked journals over the past year. This mentality has to stop because it does not lead to more, but to less quality. In fact, quantity competes with quality. Often “motivated” by the disincentive systems of their universities, many academics waste their time writing lots of papers that no one ever will cite. They should rather invest this time in writing one great paper. This can take years, but is worth doing. For example, Mark Granovetter is a highly acclaimed academic who some consider worthy of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Google Scholar counts almost 150,000 citations of his work. Yet, 70% and 84% of these citations refer to just 2 and 5 of his great papers, respectively. So if you ever sit on an assessment committee or make bonus decisions, do not just count the number of publications in certain journals per year. You might then overlook academic leaders like Granovetter.

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About Andreas Wieland

Andreas Wieland is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management at Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include resilient and socially responsible supply chains.

2 responses to “Research Quality vs. Research Quantity”

  1. Marco Perona says :

    Thank you Andreas. I fully agree on your point of view.

  2. Ed Weenk says :

    Interesting points, Andreas.

    As argued by Schmenner in his 2009 essay “Too much theory, not enough understanding”, plus the comments that are now included in the publication as well (a/o by van Wassenhove, Heyl and some others): research in OPS & SCM would benefit from a more critical look at itself from within the research community.

    Maybe it’s time for an update of the essay, to see if there has been any important progress since 2009…

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