More rankings pablum guaranteed to leave gourmets unsatisfied

The 2005 Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index looks like a better indicator than the Philosophical Gourmet’s reputation survey. This study weighted journals and then counted publications, so it’s fairly straight-forward. The controversy surrounding philosophy rankings is about to get hotter, because state schools seem to be more productive than Ivies!

  1. Michigan State U.
  2. CUNY Graduate Center
  3. Princeton
  4. U. Virginia
  5. Rutgers New Brunswick
  6. U. California at San Diego
  7. Penn State
  8. U. Texas
  9. SUNY Stony Brook
  10. Rice U.

I think that they should probably weight citations more highly than gross publications, since this is an indicator of quality. Penn State beat UT Austin, for instance, apparently because of raw publication rates, even though Austin professors are cited more often by two orders of magnitude. I haven’t seen the rankings of journals from which they’ve garnered their seeds. I’m guessing there will be plenty of room for argument there, since it’ll engender specialty disputes: Mind v. Philosophy and Public Affairs v. Law and Philosophy v. The British Journal of Aesthetics, etc. etc. Worse, it’ll reinvoke the dreaded ‘Continental v. Analytic’ split, which I have to say is pretty much meaningless to political philosophers like myself, though many seem to have thrown their hats into that ring.

Let me reiterate my view on all this: I don’t care. Moreover, I wish others didn’t care. The impact these rankings, rather than my own work, have on my career prospects makes me sick. I wish I had a shot at being considered as an individual applicant rather than the product of a reputation-weak-but-somehow-still- productive graduate program. If I wanted to be judged according to the status and abilities of my professors or past alumni or the university’s endowment, I would have gone to law school.

Second Opinions