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The problem with using BYU data


Thanks to David Wood for weighing in! But his intervention reminded me of a big problem with that data set.

Most of us have interests that span a base discipline be it psychology, organizational behavioral, economics, finance, sociology etc. further, most of us work and n a business school that realizes there is the FT 39, the other 39 FT journals beyond accounting. Then we have to realize there are journals in these related fields that do not make the FT list such as business ethics quarterly, corporate goverenance: an international review, law journals of some repute, etc. etc. etc. most of these journals have citation rates well above many of the FT45.

Do we really just want to promote accountants who can publish in accounting journals leaving all others aside???? My bet is almost everyone promoted at top 50 US MBA schools in accounting have more A publications than the byu data suggest. And that is the BIG problem with that data. It is a double edged sword in that it both understates and overstates academic productivity of accountants.

Just at Queen’s I know this is the case. I have had three hires in the decade plus that I have been here, all that made tenure easily with five A level pubs plus other minor things. NONE of whom had four accounting FT6s. We had had cases with journal of business ethics, organization studies, etc! Does this mean we are a tough or loose tenure granting school in accounting?

This is why we need to think beyond what our limited data bases can tell us and consider what truly are stretch goals that are reasonable nut challenging!


  1. daw44 says:


    David Wood again. I need to clarify a bit more. We have two distinct data sets that the bench marking and rankings are based on. Let me describe each.

    1. Bench marking data. This is the basis of this website: For this data, we went to each faculty member’s vita and hand collected all of their publications. So, this should capture every publication, regardless of journal, in which authors published. So, this data is not missing any publications (unless faculty don’t list their publications on their vita). The statistics I put in the past post are based on this data. With this data, we try to capture “A-level” research with the Financial Times Top 40 list (see journal categorization here: You can also look at publications in specific journals as part of this website. So, this data does not suffer from the problem you mentioned above (or at least only suffers partly from this problem) and is the basis of my comments.

    2. Ranking data. The data underlying our many rankings (e.g., see is a separate database that examines publications in 11 journals (13 journals for education rankings) (see description at This does have the potential biases you note above. We are considering a few options of how to fix this, so stay tuned :-).

    Although I have produced both of these data sets, I don’t advocate for their sole and exclusive use. I think they can provide useful data to help make the case for promotion and such activities, but they should only serve as a starting point and not as a definitive set of “check-the-boxes” solution. As you have noted, they are limited and need to be well understood to be used correctly. I’m all ears for finding ways to improve them if it is feasible given my and my co-authors other responsibilities.


    David A. Wood

    • Thanks for the clarification David but i am still not buying that one third of the promotions at the top 15 US MBA schools are going to folks with less than 3 publications in the top 45 business journals plus top base disicple journals. It just does not pass the smell test

    • Indeed careful reading of the web pages you referred me to says you do not capture FT 45 pubs in your summary stats. Reading the details suggests you classify several FT journals among the OTHER category.

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