Academia as financial markets? on “CEO-Editors” & “ISI WOK Stock Exchange”

See on Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

This paper argues that publishing in the global academia has come to resemble the operations of financial markets. The metaphor enables us to explicate the self-fulfilling prophecies that constitute the academic system, to understand the role of journals, to confront (re)constructions of self-evidence, and to develop meaningful responses in relating to the system.


The following citation give a great view on how this metaphor works:


“Academic capitalism runs wild as competition between universities, study programs, journals, and academics is proliferating. ‘League tables’ of universities and programs are introduced, and resources are allocated on the basis of output that meets pre-defined, allegedly universal criteria. Rankings and accreditations are crafted to construct performance indicators that are comparable
worldwide; the competitive space in academia is
now global as well as national (Wedlin, 2011). Research output in the form of articles in prestigious journals is a key measure of performance for universities and individual
academics. I suggest that in such a market journals are run like companies by CEO-editors who aim to create value for their shareholders. Inclusion in Thomson Reuters ISI Web of Knowledge has become like a listing on the New York Stock
Exchange, a measure of ambition and success. CEO-editors seek to increase their ISI Journal Impact Factor, in other words the price of company shares on the NYSE. As a result, there is a thin line between smart, value-based management and unethical behavior. CEO-editors are tempted to adopt policies and practices that artificially push up the journal Impact Factor by, for example, inflating citations (Parker & Thomas, 2011). In this context, influential journal list and ranking bodies such as the Association of Business Schools (ABS) in the UK–—that assigns stars to journals to denote their
quality–—resemble credit rating firms that monitor the journals’ performance and future prospects, and provide supposedly impartial information for academics-cum-investors on where to submit their manuscripts.”




Academia as financial markets? Metaphoric reflections and possible responses

Janne Tienari. Scandinavian Journal of Management

Available online 25 June 2012

In Press, Corrected Proof

See on


About Wilfred Mijnhardt
RMIMR is my virtual playground, a place to reflect on issues from my professional context, my job as Policy Director at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). RSM is the international university based business school at Erasmus University Rotterdam. More info here: Here is my list of relevant publications on the topic of my RMIMR weblog: The rss feed for my RMIMR collection is here: Here is my other weblog on impact of research:

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