Advertisement

Scientometrics

, Volume 116, Issue 2, pp 909–939 | Cite as

Does scientific eminence endure? Making sense of the most cited economists, psychologists and sociologists in textbooks (1970–2010)

  • Philipp KoromEmail author
Article

Abstract

This paper examines the concept of textbook eminence and asks whether this specific form of scholarly recognition is of a temporal rather than enduring nature. Based on an analysis of 30 leading textbooks in economics, psychology and economics from the 1970s and 2010s, it is established that less than a third of all eminent scholars remain across the period as the most cited authors. Therefore, the average “half-life” of textbook eminence is shorter than half a century. Textbook eminence, it seems, is associated first and foremost with ‘certified recognition,’ expressed through encyclopedia entries dedicated to individual scholars. In psychology, and partly in sociology, citation impact turns out to be a further significant correlate. In economics, however, textbook eminence is completely detached from peer recognition, as measured by the h-index. The identified short “half-life” of textbook eminence does not necessarily imply a replacement of older elites by younger researchers. In sociology, very few 20th century newcomers have yet attained textbook eminence.

Keywords

Scientific eminence Textbooks Citation analysis Bibliometrics 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This article benefited greatly from comments by Christian Fleck, University of Graz. Carl Neumayr and Thomas Klebel provided outstanding research assistance. I acknowledge financial support from the Collaborative Project No. 319.974 of the European Commission 7th Framework Program and the FWF Grant P 29211.

References

  1. Abbott, A. (2006). Reconceptualizing knowledge accumulation in sociology. The American Sociologist, 37(2), 57–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abbott, A. (2014). Digital paper. A manual for research and writing with library and internet materials. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Agger, B. (1989). Do books write authors? A study of disciplinary hegemony. Teaching Sociology, 17(3), 365–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baehr, P., & O’Brien, M. (1994). Founders of discourse. Current Sociology, 42(1), 3–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bain, R. (1962). The most important sociologists. American Sociological Review, 27, 746–748.Google Scholar
  6. Blaug, M., & Vane, H. R. (2003). Who´s who in economics. Cheltenham; Northampton: Edward Elgar Publications.Google Scholar
  7. Breit, W., & Huston, J. H. (1997). Reputation versus influence: The evidence from textbook references. Eastern Economic Journal, 23(4), 451–456.Google Scholar
  8. Cattell, J. M. (1903). Statistics of American psychologists. American Journal of Psychology, 14, 574–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cattell, J. M. (1906a). A statistical study of American men of science. II. The measurement of scientific merit. Science, 24(622), 699–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cattell, J. M. (1906b). American men of science: A biographical directory. New York: The Science Press.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. Chan, H. F., & Torgler, B. (2015). Do great minds appear in batches? Scientometrics, 104(2), 475–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cobb, C. W., & Douglas, P. H. (1928). A theory of production. The American Economic Review, 18(1), 139–165.Google Scholar
  13. Colander, D. (2005). What economists teach and what economists do. The Journal of Economic Education, 36(3), 249–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Colander, D. C. (2011). The evolution of U.S. economics textbooks. In M. M. Augello & M. E. L. Guidi (Eds.), The economic reader. Textbooks, manuals and the dissemination of the economic sciences during the 19th and early 20th centuries (pp. 324–339). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Cole, S. (1983). The hierarchy of the sciences? American Journal of Sociology, 89(1), 111–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cole, S., & Cole, J. R. (1967). Scientific output and recognition: A study in the operation of the reward system in science. American Sociological Review, 32(3), 377–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Diamond, A. M., Jr., & Toth, R. J. (2007). The determinants of election to the Presidency of the American Economic Association: Evidence from a cohort of distinguished 1950´s economists. Scientometrics, 73(2), 131–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Park, J. (2014). An incomplete list of eminent psychologists of the modern era. Archives of Scientific Psychology, 2(1), 20–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Douglas, R. J. (1992). How to write a highly cited article without even trying. Psychological Bulletin, 112(3), 405–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Durlauf, S. N., & Blume, L. (2008). The New Palgrave dictionary of economics. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Elzinga, K. G. (1992). The eleven principles of economics. Southern Economic Journal, 58(4), 861–879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Feist, G. J. (1997). Quantity, quality, and depth of research as influences on scientific eminence: Is quantity most important? Creativity Research Journal, 10(4), 325–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Galton, F. (1874). English men of science: Their nature and nurture. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  24. Godin, B. (2007). From eugenics to scientometrics. Galton, Cattell, and Men of science. Social Studies of Science, 37(5), 691–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gottesman, A. A., Ramrattan, L., & Szenberg, M. (2005). Samuelson´s economics: The continuing legacy. The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, 8(2), 95–1004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Griggs, R. A., & Christopher, A. N. (2016). Who’s who in introductory psychology textbooks: A citation analysis redux. Teaching of Psychology, 43(2), 108–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Haggbloom, S. J., Warnick, R., Warnick, J. E., Jones, V. K., Yarbrough, G. L., Russell, T. M., et al. (2002). The 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century. Review of General Psychology, 6(2), 139–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Harzing, A.-W. (2015). Publish or perish, version 5. Available at http://www.harzing.com/pop.htm.
  29. Hirsch, J. E. (2005). An index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102(46), 16569–16572.CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  30. James, H. (1920). The letters of William James (Vol. 1). Boston: Atlantic Monthly.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. James, W. (1890). The principles of psychology (Vol. 1–2). New York: Holt.Google Scholar
  32. Kaess, W. A., & Bousfield, W. A. (1954). The use of citations of authorities in textbooks of introductory psychology. American Psychologist, 9(4), 144–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kazdin, A. E. (2000). Encyclopedia of psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Kendall, D. (1999). Doing a good deed or confounding the problem? Peer review and sociology textbooks. Teaching Sociology, 27(1), 17–30.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Klamer, A. (1990). The textbook presentation of economic discourse. In W. J. Samuels (Ed.), Economics as discourse (pp. 129–165). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kousha, K., & Thelwall, M. (2007). Google Scholar citations and Google Web/URL citations: A multi-discipline exploratory analysis. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(7), 1055–1065.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kuhn, T. S. (1963). The function of dogma in scientific research. In A. C. Crombie (Ed.), Scientific change (pp. 347–369). London: Heineman.Google Scholar
  38. Liner, G. H. (2002). Core journals in economics. Economic Inquiry, 40(1), 138–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Manza, J., Sauder, M., & Wright, N. (2010). Procuding textbook sociology. Archives Européennes de Sociologie, 51(2), 271–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McConnell, J. V. (1978). Confessions of a textbook writer. American Psychologist, 33(2), 159–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Merton, R. K. (1957). Priorities in scientific recovery: A chapter in the sociology of science. American Sociological Review, 22(6), 635–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Merton, R. K. (1973). The sociology of science: Theoretical and empirical investigations. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Morawski, J. G. (1992). There is more to our history of giving: The place of introductory textbooks in American psychology. American Psychologist, 47(2), 161–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Offer, A., & Söderberg, G. (2016). The nobel factor. The prize in economics, social democracy, and the market turn. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Oromaner, M. J. (1968). The most cited sociologists: An analysis of introductory text citations. The American Sociologist, 3(2), 124–126.Google Scholar
  46. Oromaner, M. J. (1969). The audience as a determinant of the most important sociologists. The American Sociologist, 4(4), 332–335.Google Scholar
  47. Platt, J. (2008). British Textbooks from 1949. Current Sociology, 56(2), 165–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Platt, J. (2016). Recent ASA Presidents and ´Top`Journals: Observed publication patterns, alleged cartels and varying careers. The American Sociologist, 47(4), 459–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ritzer, G. (2007). The Blackwell encyclopedia of sociology. Malden, MA: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Roeckelein, J. E. (1996). Contributions to the history of psychology: CIV. eminence in psychology as measured by name counts and eponyms. Psychological Reports, 78(1), 243–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Roeckelein, J. E. (1998). Dictionary of theories, laws, and concepts in psychology. Westport: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  52. Rothman, R. A. (1971). Textbooks and the certification of knowledge. The American Sociologist, 6(2), 125–127.Google Scholar
  53. Rule, J. B. (1997). Theory and progress in social science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Segura, J., & Braun, C. R. (2004). An eponymous dictionary of economics: A guide to laws and theorems named after economists. Cheltenham and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sills, D. L., & Merton, R. K. (1992). Social science quotations. Current Contents, 15(43), 167–171.Google Scholar
  56. Sills, D. L., & Merton, R. K. (2000). Social science quotation: Who said what, when, and where. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  57. Simonton, K. (1989). The chance-configuration theory of scientific creativity. In B. Gholson, W. R. Shadish, R. A. Neimeyer, & A. C. Houts (Eds.), The psychology of science: Contributions to metascience (pp. 170–213). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stiglitz, J. E. (1988). On the market for principles of economics textbooks: Innovation and product differentiation. Journal of Economic Education, 19(2), 171–177.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Storer, N. W. (1966). The social system of science. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  60. Weiten, W., & Brewer, C. L. (1992). Portraits of a discipline: An examination of introductory psychology textbooks in America. In A. E. Puente, J. R. Matthews, & C. L. Brewer (Eds.), Teaching in psychology in America: A history (pp. 453–504). Washington: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wright, R. A. (1995). Was there a “Golden Past” for the introductory sociology textbook? A citation analysis of leading journals. The American Sociologist, 26(4), 41–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Zechmeister, J. S., & Zechmeister, E. B. (2000). Introductory textbooks and psychology´s core. Teaching of Psychology, 27(1), 6–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zusne, L. (1975). Contributions to the history of psychology: XXI. History of rating of eminence in psychology revisited. Psychological Reports, 36(2), 492–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for SociologyUniversity of GrazGrazAustria

Personalised recommendations