How much space do faculty at teaching campuses take up in journals?


What’s the relative influence of teaching faculty on their fields as a whole? That’s hard to measure.

Here’s an easier, related, question to ask: What fraction of papers coming out have teaching faculty as authors?

A couple months ago, I perused the tables of contents of a variety of journals. Here’s what I found:

  • Ecology: 3 of 25 papers were partially or completely authored by researchers in teaching institutions
  • Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society: 1 of 10
  • Biotropica: 0 of 16
  • Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics:  4 of 23.
  • Ecology Letters: 1 of 15
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B: 0 of 20
  • Biology Letters: 2 of 32

By the way, in Physical Review Letters, it was 1 out of 32; Chemical Reviews was 0 of 12.

I can sniff out a teaching institution in the US based on its name. The primarily-teaching university doesn’t quite exist in the same manifestation internationally, but even so it was clear that most international authors were associated with research institutions of one kind or another.

Using this feeble back-of-the-envelope calculation using a very small sample size, maybe up to 10% of papers in my fields have teaching-school authors in the US. Is this more or less than you’d expect?

What’s it look like in your field, if you’re not a ecology/entomo/tropical type?

2 thoughts on “How much space do faculty at teaching campuses take up in journals?

  1. I think it’d be interesting to break this down further, perhaps by impact factor (or some better metric) of journal “quality”. In my experience, I think regional journals (e.g. Northeastern Naturalist, Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science) or narrowly-focused journals tend to have much higher representation of teaching faculty. Why? Funding for big projects? Differential interest in high profile topics? Ability to execute quality experiments?

    • I was rather surprised to find that that trend didn’t emerge, or if anything, the opposite emerged, from my small sample. Only one JKansEntSoc paper had a teaching university faculty member on it, while double the rate were in Ann. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. and Ecology had more. Biotropica, somewhere inbetween, had none that particular issue. (I’d want to do it more, but then that would switch from blogging to actual research. I have other data I’m working on!)

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