UPDATE: Because of high interest level, I’m moving this to the top. See also here for notes about the table below.
SECOND UPDATE: I’ve created a page with just the ranking tables, both the ones in this post and another one from the comments, for those who just want to see the results of the exercise. You can click on the “Department Hirsch Number Rankings” in the Pages box in the right column, or just click here.
I’ve used the Hirsch number to gather more data, this time on Leiter-rated departments, using the faculty lists used by those who ranked departments for Leiter last time. I’ll put the data below the fold, but first a word or two about the numbers. First, I think there are lots of problems with the data at present, but it is becoming clear to me that administrators will want such information as the methods of generating it become easier to use and more reliable. So it is worth knowing how philosophy departments fare on this score. There is also an advantage here, since a department that is slipping in the rankings might use such information as part of a case for new appointments; moreover, addressing such concerns in a department will require hiring senior and productive scholars, which is good for the profession as well. (A dominant concern of mine has been the immense power educational institutions have over faculty, and data that leads to greater mobility for senior faculty will force institutions to pay for quality departments.) There is an added benefit as well for departments not rated by the Leiter report: such departments can compare data for their own department to see how they fare compared to the departments that are ranked.
The data at present are not fully reliable, and I caution in advance about the problems. As before, I used Harzing’s Publish or Perish, which searches Google Scholar for the data to generate a Hirsch number for each scholar. Google Scholar has been subjected to some scrutiny by social scientists and the problems with it are discussed here, and Keith’s worries here are certainly legitimate and worth considering as well. The current wisdom seems to be that GS is far from accurate, but not inaccurate enough to render the data entirely without probative value.
There are also known issues with the h-index itself, as discussed here. It is, however, a measure that is growing in popularity and, I expect, will play an increasing role in administrative thinking about departments.
So, with all the limitations and caveats about the data, here are the results.
The table has three sets of rankings. The first two columns order departments by departmental mean and the middle two columns order departments by departmental median. The final two columns order departments in terms of a mean on data that is restricted in three ways. First, since the mean for all scholars measured was 5.14, and the median 4, the data was restricted to include only faculty with Hirsch numbers greater than 4. Second, a department might get a high mean by having exactly one highly cited scholar, so the data was restricted further by eliminating the highest h-value from each department list. Finally, since it takes a critical mass of productive scholars to make a good department, I looked for departments with at least 6 scholars with an h-index above the median for all scholars. If a department did not have 6 such scholars, then the mean reported in the last column is the mean for the department minus the highest h-value scholar. If a department had at least 6 such scholars, then the mean is calculated on the restricted data just described. The resulting ranking is thus intended to favor departments with a critical mass of productive and reputable scholars, without depending on one particular star in the department to obtain a high ranking.
Since I now have a database, if there is some other way of running the numbers that might be of interest, let me know.
|33||Penn||4.34||33||Wash U StL||3.00||33||Penn||3.97|
|34||Notre Dame||4.33||33||Ariz St||3.00||34||Virginia||3.92|
|35||Wash U StL||4.31||33||Brown||3.00||35||Wash U StL||3.87|
|44||Santa Barbara||3.91||33||Columbia||3.00||44||Ariz St||3.41|
|47||South Fl.||3.67||33||Iowa||3.00||47||Santa Barbara||3.20|
|48||CUNY||3.54||33||Notre Dame||3.00||48||South Fl.||3.07|
|50||Johns Hopkins||3.45||33||Santa Barbara||3.00||50||Ohio State||2.87|
|61||S. Car.||2.29||61||S. Car.||1.00||61||S. Car.||2.06|