Development and Outcomes of a New Institutional Ranking System for Public Administration Research and Scholarship

Development and Outcomes of a New Institutional Ranking System for Public Administration Research and Scholarship

Adam M. Williams (University of Illinois at Springfield, USA) and Derek R. Slagle (Florida Atlantic University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0819-9.ch015
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Abstract

The focus of the chapter will be two-fold: concentration on input and outcomes of an international, institutional ranking for scholarship and research. After a review of the literature, the first portion will examine the development of a new objective institutional ranking system for public administration research and scholarship. Emphasis will be placed on differences and similarities from previous institutional ranking systems. The second portion will focus on the outcomes and resultant consequences – both intended and unintended – for development of an international ranking system away from traditional domestic methodologies based on reputational-subjective measures.
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Background

The usage of ranking systems and bibliometrics have become “increasingly common” in public administration, university management, and science policy (Van De Walle & Van Delft, 2015, p. 87). Perry (1995) noted that the rankings of public administration not only communicate prestige but in a broader sense, rankings symbolize the growing professionalization and legitimacy of public administration. Publications such as the U.S. News and World Reports, in the ratings, give public administration the same standing as sociology, political science, nursing, and economics. Adams (2006) illustrates the relevance of this in expanding on Perry’s (1995) discussion and explaining that this growth gives public administration the ability to dissociate from the view that it is merely a subfield of political science.

Ranking and indexing within the field of public administration, and other related disciplines, is a highly debated and controversial topic for the field and its classification. In any given ranking system there will be obvious inherent limitations and subjectivity concerning the outcomes on an academic level. Previous studies, as well as the ones presented here, have within their design and methodology both positives and negatives that lend to this controversy and debate. However, despite methodological shortcomings university ‘rankings’ are often taken at face value.

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