, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 933–950 | Cite as

The relation between the quality of research, researchers’ experience, and their academic environment

  • Thor-Erik Sandberg HanssenEmail author
  • Finn Jørgensen
  • Berner Larsen


This article investigates to what extent researchers’ experience and the solidity of their academic environment influence the quality of their research. The hypotheses are derived from the assumptions that experience matters for quality research and that there are great intellectual synergies to be obtained from interacting with many colleagues who are active researchers. All articles published between 2000 and 2006 in five leading transportation journals are included in the analysis, and their research quality is measured by the number of times each article is cited by August 2016. Controlling for other factors influencing citations, such as article age and the number of references, the most important finding is that both experience and academic environment matter for performing quality research. When the authors’ experience, measured by the number of previous publications, increases by 1% from its average level, their published articles are expected to garner 0.31% more citations. Moreover, when the research activity at the unit to which the authors are affiliated, measured by the unit’s total number of publications, increases by 1% from its average level, the number of times their articles are cited will increase by 0.19%. This signals that, relatively speaking, the researchers’ own experience and merits mean more than the academic environment with regard to producing high-quality research. The above results enable us to discuss how researchers’ experience can compensate for working in less active academic communities holding research quality constant.


Research Research quality Citations Department size Experience 


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thor-Erik Sandberg Hanssen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Finn Jørgensen
    • 1
  • Berner Larsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Business SchoolNord UniversityBodøNorway

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