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Are finance, management, and marketing autonomous fields of scientific research? An analysis based on journal citations

Abstract

Although there is considerable consensus that Finance, Management and Marketing are ‘science’, some debate remains with regard to whether these three areas comprise autonomous, organized and settled scientific fields of research. In this paper we aim to explore this issue by analyzing the occurrence of citations in the top-ranked journals in the areas of Finance, Management, and Marketing. We put forward a modified version of the model of science as a network, proposed by Klamer and Van Dalen (J Econ Methodol 9(2):289–315, 2002), and conclude that Finance is a ‘Relatively autonomous, organized and settled field of research’, whereas Management and (to a larger extent) Marketing are relatively non-autonomous and hybrid fields of research’. Complementary analysis based on sub-discipline rankings using the recursive methodology of Liebowitz and Palmer (J Econ Lit 22:77–88, 1984) confirms the results. In conclusions we briefly discuss the pertinence of Whitley’s (The intellectual and social organization of the sciences, 1984) theory for explaining cultural differences across these sub-disciplines based on its dimensions of scholarly practices, ‘mutual dependency’ and ‘task uncertainty’.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Waller’s study however, suffers from methodological problems which pertain to the fact that it assigns subject categories (‘economic theory’, ‘financial economics’, and ‘development economics’) only to one given journal (respectively, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Financial Economics, and World Development).

  2. 2.

    We sincerely acknowledge one of the referees for highlighting this important point. Accordingly, one interesting path for future research would be to compare Leydesdorff’s approach with ours over a longer period in time.

  3. 3.

    It is important to refer that some books and conference proceedings go through scientific peer review and that even for journal articles the peer review process is not always as objective as one would expected (García-Aracil et al. 2006), questioning in part the ‘reliability’ of academic journals as unique portraits of ‘quality’.

  4. 4.

    The authors acknowledge and thank one of the referees for this remark.

  5. 5.

    It is important to mention here some recent important developments on the models of science. Distinctly from our approach, which is essentially descriptive, these recent developments involve efforts to apply network theoretical and predictive models to science. The Guest Editor’s introduction to the Special Issue on “Science of Science: Conceptualizations and Models of Science” in the Journal of Informetrics (Börner and Scharnhorst 2009) contains references to interesting and useful predictive network models of science which aim at achieving a theoretically grounded and practically useful ‘science of science’. In particular, the computational proposal of Chen et al. (2009) present an explanatory theory of scientific discovery based on an extended theory of structural holes which conceptualizes scientific discoveries as a brokerage process and also unifies knowledge diffusion as an integral part of a collective information foraging process. In an analogous way, Lambiotte and Panzarasa (2009) argue that scientists at the boundaries of established, well-connected communities can be crucial for the spreading of new ideas. These latter authors further discuss advantages and disadvantages of close scientific communities and sparsely connected ones concerning information diffusion.

  6. 6.

    Thus, for assessing ‘autonomy’, as we empirically exemplify in Sect. 3, we look into the ‘relative closure of the network of journals against other journals’ (we acknowledge one of the referees for this expression). That is, in a ‘relatively autonomous’ field of research the percentage of total citations corresponding to a small core of the area’s journals is rather high in an excess of 40% (Waller 2006).

  7. 7.

    To evaluate the consequences of having a different initial ranking criterion, we experimented with the use of the Impact Factor and, although the initial journal was different (the Academy of Management Review), the final results were the same (although the first identified group was that of Table 3). We also evaluated the consequences of using a different period of analysis (2001–2005) with the same results (reinforcing that journals’ ranking is statistically stationary—cf. Vieira 2004).

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Acknowledgements

The authors are deeply indebted for helpful comments and suggestions of two anonymous referees. The usual caveat applies.

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Correspondence to Aurora A. C. Teixeira.

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Vieira, P.C., Teixeira, A.A.C. Are finance, management, and marketing autonomous fields of scientific research? An analysis based on journal citations. Scientometrics 85, 627–646 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-010-0292-7

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Keywords

  • Citations
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Autonomy

JEL Classification

  • C89
  • A12