Interim Report for the Quality Assessment of Research



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ARCA


The Research by the Department of Accounting is organized through the Amsterdam Research Center in Accounting (ARCA). The scope of ARCA also includes research into auditing and accounting information systems. This center provides organizational support, funding and is a platform for organizing courses for Ph.D.-students and other researchers.
ESI / AMBER

The Economic and Social Institute (ESI) was founded in 1954 as a foundation operating under the auspices of the Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics of the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. It is therefore almost fifty years since ESI began conducting contract and fundamental academic research, and almost fifty years since it offered its first trainee research assistant placements.

On April 1 2005, the Economic and Social Institute has changed its name in AMBER, Amsterdam Institute for Business and Economic Research.

Amber is a research center serving diverse domestic and international clients, both in the public and the private sector. Amber has two research divisions: Economics and Business Administration


SOW

The Centre for World Food Studies (Dutch acronym SOW-VU for "Stichting Onderzoek Wereldvoedsel-voorziening van de Vrije Universiteit"), founded in 1977, is a research institute that provides support, at both national and international levels, to the formulation of food and agricultural policies and policies aiming at poverty reduction. The Centre is engaged in applied and quantitative research. It co-operates with scientists and policy makers from developing countries so as to ensure that policy formulation and capacity building evolve together. The Centre also contributes to debates and policy dialogues on food related issues.


Above participation in these institutes, the faculty seeks participation in a graduate and research school in management and business administration.
7. Academic Reputation
Researchers of the faculty perform well. They won several prizes for papers, dissertations and for other contributions to research. Van Ommeren, and Gautier received a VIDI-scholarship from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. Menkveld and Siegmann received a VENI-scholarship from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. The scholarship will allow them to perform a three-year research programme.

The Royal Shell Prize 2002 was awarded to Jeroen van den Bergh, professor of environmental economics. He received the prize for his research in the field of sustainable development, the environment, and natural resources. He was unanimously chosen by the members of the jury and received the amount of 100,000 Euro.

The economics and econometrics research received a positive evaluation at the national research assessment. Two out of eight programmes were labelled "world class quality".

The department of Spatial Economics received a research grant worth one million Euro. It is a large EU project called STELLA (Sustainable Transport in Europe and Links and Liaisons with America).

Gerard J. van den Berg is joint Managing Editor of The Economic Journal (2001-2004), as the first non-UK based editor in the history of this top journal.
Many researchers of the faculty are member of the editorial board of national and international journals and are member of important scientific committees (such as NWO-committees).
For more details on the academic reputation of the researchers: see section research programmes.
As a rough indicator of the impact of the faculty’s research, table 3 is given the number of citations for the five most cited publications of the programme leaders, according to Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/) and ISI Web of Science ((S)SCI). The Tinbergen Institute published a similar list of all the research fellows who participate in the Tinbergen Institute as part of the accreditation of the research school. This list is published on the TI website. We restricted us to give the citation scores of the programme leaders who are in general also the leading researchers in their research field. Of course there are other researchers in the faculty who have also high citations scores (e.g. Nijkamp (232 and 222), van den Berg (437 and 163), and Verhoef (176 and 111). Comparison with the TI website shows that in general the VU scores very well on impact. A very healthy development is that high impact is no longer limited to a few programmes but is now achieved by many programmes.

Table 3:


Citations of the 5 most cited publications of programme coordinators, September 2005


Name programme coordinator

Sum of 5 most cited publications







Google Scholar

ISI Web of Science

Van den Bergh

185

150

Bossink

56

23

Frambach

72

42

Groot

23

10

Gunning

625

182

Jansen

41

54

Koopman

512

180

Van der Laan

26

137

Lindeboom

147

97

Lucas

118

65

Rietveld

248

205

Tan

124

56

Tijms

606

485

Withagen

115

49



8. Overview of the results


In table 4 an overview of all the research output of the faculty is given. The research output per programme is given in the programme section.
Table 4: Aggregated results of the faculty











2001

2002

2003

2004

Total

1. Academic Publications

























In Journals

A

B

Other



9

43

168



15

46

138



14

42

111



20

41

90



58

172

507




Book Chapters

B

Other


19

93


9

167


11

115


17

94


56

469

Total







332

375

293

262

1262

2. Books / Monographs




A

B

Other



3

3

19



3

2

30



-

4

21



3

9

24



9

18

94

3. Ph.D. Thesis







14

14

18

15

61

4. Professional Publications and Products







379

302

344

251

1276

Although the overall number of publications is decreasing in the last four years, the number of high quality publications (A/B) is increasing, from 76 in 2001 to 90 in 2004. The journals- and publishers lists with the A- and B rankings shown in Appendix II.
During the last output assessment in December 2004, it was possible to make exceptions for articles in journals that were not listed because the field they cover fell outside the scope of the FEWEB list. If both the quality and the subject matter of the article were such that it might also have been published in a listed journal it was classified accordingly. If the quality criterion was satisfied, but the subject matter criterion was not, exceptions were made only for articles in journals of undisputed top-quality (e.g. Nature, The Lancet). In either case the number of exceptions remained limited. Judgements were made by a temporary committee.

In table 4, six A’s en 15 B’s (journal articles) were attained by using this exception claim.


Table 5: Number of Dissertations and articles A/B by active programme


Programme

Dissertations

Articles




Size*

Number of A/B articles per fte







A

B







Strategic and Cooperative Decision Making

1

2

11

4.05

3.2

Time Series Econometrics

3

3

13

8.71

1.8

Applied Labour Economics

5

20

19

23.49

1.7

Farms and Firms

5

7

22

12.05

2.4

Regional Economics and Networks

20

4

34

29.25

1.3

Environmental Economics

4

2

27

12.55

2.3

Finance and Banking

2

6

10

11.48

1.4

Operations Research and Information Technology

2

1

7

6.44

1.2

Accounting and Decision Making

3

1

4

11.84

0.4

Strategy and Organisation

2

-

2

3.42

0.6

Marketing Strategy

-

1

5

3.72

1.6

Human Resources

3

2

3

2.51

2.0

Information Systems for Organisational Networks

3

3

8

13.18

0.8

* All staff exclusive PhD students over 4 years, except for the programmes Strategy and Organisation, Marketing Strategy and Human Resources. These programmes exist only since 2003. The features of these programmes cover 2 years.


A striking feature of table 4 is the very high number of completed dissertations of the programme Regional Economics and Networks. This programme accounted for one third of the total number of dissertations completed in the period considered. Another notable result is the very high number of publications in A-journals by the labour economics group (many of these publications appeard in “supertop”, the 5 journals classified as AA by the Tinbergen Institute). As a rough indicator of quality the table shows the number of articles in A or B journals (corrected for the size of the programme). This indicator must be treated with some caution.
The features of the programmes Strategy and Organisation, Marketing Strategy and Human Resources cover only 2 years (2003 and 2004). If we take also the features of the programme Dynamic Organisations and Markets (2001-2002), the precursor of these three programmes, into account, they have completed 11 dissertations in 4 years with rather small personnel input.
Some of the programmes have published in high quality journals which do not occur on the faculty’s list (and hence are not classified as A or B journals), because these journals are not economic journals. This applies especially to the Regional Economics and Networks programme (with many publications in transport or geography journals), and the Strategic and Cooperative Decision Making programme (with many articles in mathematiacal journals). The results are therefore not entirely comparable. Keeping this caveat in mind. Table 4 indicates what has become increasingly clear in the last few years: that high quality results are now attained over a very broad range of very different fields. This is a striking change: not very long ago only a few of the research programmes regularly succeeded in publishing in the very good and the top journals. This has now become standard.
For other recommendable results, see awards and nominations at the section research programmes.

 

9. Analysis, perspectives and expectations for the faculty

In the report on the quality assessment of the research in Economics (August 2002) and in Business Administration and Management (December 2002), the general comments concerned especially the size of the groups and the recruitment of faculty and PhD students.
The faculty of Economics and Business Administration has a large number of research groups and some of them are rather small. The review committee argued that some of these groups were too small, but the faculty does not agree with this. Research in our faculty does not involve fixed costs as is the case in some other faculties. As a result of this small research groups are not more expensive than large research groups. The faculty attaches great value to homogeneity concerning the content of the research which increases the quality of the research.
To guarantee good quality research, it is important to recruit good quality researchers. The recruitment of researchers is improved by introducing the tenure track system as already indicated. Beside of this the faculty is trying to hold on to his researchers to offer them a professorship. Currently the faculty has more possibilities to offer professorships than in previous times when the professorships were only structural.
The existence and the high quality of the Tinbergen Institute, the graduate school in economics, econometrics and finance, facilitates the recruitment of PhD students. The Tinbergen Institute offers a graduate programme consisting of two years of intensive graduate coursework in the institute’s Master of Philosophy in Economics programme (M.Phil.) and three years of Ph.D. thesis research. The Tinbergen Institute has been evaluated positively recently by an international review committee for the accreditation for the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science (KNAW) next year.
The participation of the researchers and PhD students in Business Administration and Management in a good graduate school in the field has high priority within the faculty at the moment. Collaboration is sought with the University of Amsterdam and the Erasmus University of Rotterdam (in ERIM). The participation in such a graduate school will improve the recruitment of researchers and PhD students and will stimulate high quality research in this field as it does at the Tinbergen Institute.

Section B





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