Academic Rankings and Research Governance

IEW Working Paper No. 482

29 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2010

See all articles by Margit Osterloh

Margit Osterloh

University of Basel; Professor (em.) University of Zurich

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Date Written: March 11, 2010


Academic rankings today are the backbone of research governance, which seem to fit the aims of “new public management” on the one side and the idea of the “republic of science” on the other side. Nevertheless rankings recently came under scrutiny. We discuss advantages and disadvantages of academic rankings, in particular their unintended negative consequences on the research process. To counterbalance these negative consequences we suggest (a) rigorous selection and socialization, and (b) downplaying the impact of rankings in order to reconcile academic self-governance with accountability to the public.

Keywords: Peer reviews, rankings, research governance, psychological economics, new public management, economics of science, control theory

JEL Classification: H52, H83, I23, J44, L38

Suggested Citation

Osterloh, Margit and Frey, Bruno S., Academic Rankings and Research Governance (March 11, 2010). IEW Working Paper No. 482, Available at SSRN: or

Margit Osterloh (Contact Author)

University of Basel ( email )

Petersplatz 1
Basel, CH-4003

Professor (em.) University of Zurich ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zürich, CH-8008

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics