Introduction

Research evaluation is an important topic in academia in general and in business administration in particular. The importance of research evaluation stems from the fact that researchers are evaluated at many points in their careers with respect to their research output. These instances include, for example, obtaining the first tenured position, but also the allocation of competitive third party fundingFootnote 1 or the distribution of resources within a faculty (Graber et al. 2008; Hudson and Laband 2013; Mingers and Willmott 2013; Beckmann and Schneider 2013; Hicks 2012). In particular, the performance-based allocation of resources within university faculties has gained relevance in Germany (Brähler and Strauss 2009; Hornbostel 2006; Münch 2008; von Görtz et al. 2010). E.g., Sieweke et al. (2014) document that 85.7% of the business administration and/or economics faculties in their sample allocate financial resources based on the professors’ research output. However, the allocation of resources within a business administration faculty based on the professors’ research output rests upon the premise that a fair evaluation of research output across multiple fields of business administration is given. Yet, there is anecdotal evidence that suggests that publication behavior differs across business administration fields, with a particularly distinctive position of accounting researchers. These differences in publication behavior might hamper a fair performance-based allocation of funds if these differences are not considered in the measurement of publication output. Thus, our paper fosters knowledge regarding the quantitative evaluation of these behavioral differences—with a particular focus on accounting researchers—by replacing anecdotal with empirical evidence, i.e., by actually quantifying these behavioral differences.

While publication behavior can comprise numerous aspects like the structure of the professional networks, the common length of a publication or the relevance of other outlets besides academic journals (e.g., conference proceedings (Vardi 2009, 2010)) we focus on four particular research questions in our paper and focus on journal publications exclusively. First, we analyze if fields of business administration differ with respect to a focus on a national audience. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in some fields such as accounting, national topics are more important than in other fields. In particular, financial accounting and taxation are more concerned with German law than other fields. In contrast, fields like marketing are usually less focused on topics of national interest and thus might primarily conduct research for an international audience. Therefore, we compare professors in different fields of business administration with respect to the share of publications with a German title and the share of publications in journals, which are based in the DACH region, subsequently called DACH region journals. Given that German accounting professors are particularly concerned with German (tax) law, we expect that accounting professors should possess a more pronounced national focus compared to their peers in other business administration fields. Hence, our first research question asks whether accounting professors have a stronger national focus compared to professors in other fields.

Second, we study potential differences regarding the focus on so-called practitioner journals. There is initial evidence that practitioner journals are important for researchers in financial accounting (Fülbier and Weller 2011), while other fields usually do not publish papers for a practitioner audience. In order to address whether the fields differ with respect to papers published for a practitioner’s audience, we identify practitioner journals and calculate the fraction of publications in these journals divided by all publications of a professor. Subsequently, we compare respective fractions across the fields of business administration. Consequently, our second research question asks whether accounting professors publish a larger fraction of their work in practitioner journals compared to their peers in other fields.

With our third research question, we investigate if fields of business administration differ with respect to publishing in the most renowned journals. Publications in such journals are typically one criteria for the distribution of funds in business administration faculties. More precisely, we focus on journals included in the Financial Times’ top 50 journals (FT50) (Fassin 2021; Vidgen et al. 2019; Zhang 2021) and highly rated journals according to the VHB Jourqual 3 (JQL3) (see, e.g., Eisend (2011) and Schrader and Henning-Thurau (2009) for discussions regarding earlier versions of this ranking). Previous research shows that in some fields of business administration it might be more difficult to publish in highly rated journals compared to other fields. Since the seminal work of Buchheit et al. (2002), there is a steadily growing body of literature providing evidence that it is more difficult to publish in top-tier accounting journals compared to other business administration fields (Swanson 2004; Swanson et al. 2007; Templeton and Lewis 2015; Valacich et al. 2006). Most recently, Grossmann et al. (2019) provide evidence that accounting researchers have the least opportunities to publish their work in highly rated journalsFootnote 2 when compared to management and finance researchers. For example, the authors show that the average number of A‑star articles (according to the ABDC journal ranking) per faculty member in accounting equals roughly 0.2, whereas this number equals roughly 0.5 in finance and 1.5 in management.Footnote 3 In addition, Korkeamäki et al. (2018) find that the “value” of a single publication in a top journalFootnote 4 is highest in accounting. The authors estimate exchange rates, which account for the fact that it is more difficult to publish in a top accounting journal compared to other fields such as finance or marketing. For example, the authors find that a publication in a top accounting journal is roughly worth as much as two publications in a top marketing journal.Footnote 5 Given this evidence, we expect to find that accounting professors publish less in highly ranked journals compared to professors in other fields.Footnote 6

Fourth, we explore if fields of business administration differ with respect to aggregate measures of publication output, which might also be used by business administration faculties in order to allocate financial resources. Again, we rely on the JQL3, but also add international journal ratings such as the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) (González-Pereira et al. 2010) and the Source-Normalized Impact Factor (SNIP) (Moed 2010).Footnote 7 According to the evidence on accounting professors provided above, we expect differences in aggregate measures of publication output as well. Hence, our fourth research question asks whether aggregate measures of publication output differ for accounting professors as opposed to the other fields of business administration.

With respect to the aspect of resource allocation within faculties, the last two research questions seem to be most relevant. Although explicit rules of resource allocation within the faculties are not publicly available, anecdotal evidence suggests that publications in the most prestigious journals as well as aggregate measures of research output based on journal ratings are important dimensions for resource allocation. In contrast, our first two research dimensions about national and practitioner foci of a field might not directly affect resource allocation, but indirectly yield lower scores in the third and fourth dimension, since publications for a German as well as for a practitioner audience do not count as highly rated publications according to our proxies of journal quality.

In order to answer our research questions, we draw on a unique, hand-collected dataset of 1016 business administration professors in Germany, which we collected at the end of 2018. We assign each professor one of seven disciplinesFootnote 8, following Eisend and Schuchert-Güler (2015) who apply the fields in the journal Business Research, now Schmalenbach Journal of Business ResearchFootnote 9. In addition, we collected information on the CVs of the professors, e.g., the year of tenure and the institution granting the PhD of the professor. We merge this dataset with publication data provided by the online research-monitoring portal Forschungsmonitoring, which results in 28,992 journal publications of the 1016 business administration professors.Footnote 10Footnote 11

We run a series of OLS regressions to test whether publication behavior between accounting professors and their peers in other business administration fields differs significantly from each other. Therefore, we use each of the publication behavior variables, e.g., the fraction of publications of a professor in practitioner’s journals, as dependent variables. Concretely, we test whether accounting professors differ in the publication behavior variables, controlling for a battery of covariates like gender, the time to tenure and the year first tenure was received by the professor.

With respect to our research questions, we find strong differences regarding the focus on a national audience between the fields of business administration. While German accounting professors publish a large share of their work with German titles (66%), German operations professors only publish a quarter of their work with German titles. We document similar findings with respect to the share of publications in DACH region journals. In addition, we report differences regarding the focus on practitioner journals. Concretely, we document that accounting professors publish on average a large fraction (36%) of their papers in journals that do not primarily address a scientific audience. In contrast, operations professors publish only a small share (8%) of their work in such journals. The differences concerning a focus on a national audience as well as on practitioners’ journals remain when controlling for a battery of covariates.

Furthermore, we document distinct differences regarding the publications in highly rated journals. We find that accounting professors have on average 0.85 publications in FT50 journals, whereas marketing professors have 3.28 of these publications. When applying aggregate measures for the publication output of professors, we find that accounting professors—on average—accumulate the lowest score. In contrast, marketing and operations professors score highest with respect to aggregate measures. The differences, again, remain when controlling for a battery of control variables.

By providing empirical evidence that publication behavior in different fields of business administration differ, our paper offers several important implications. First and most importantly, our findings that accounting professors publish less in highly renowned international journals and have lower publication scores based on our aggregate measures contain implications concerning the performance-based resource allocation within business administration faculties (Hornbostel 2006; Sieweke et al. 2014). Our work suggests that researchers in accounting potentially might receive a rather low fraction of the allocated funds if existing journal ratings are applied naively. Hence, faculties should consider adjusting for differences in publication behavior before allocating resources within faculties when applying journal ratings. One approach could be to use exchange rates as proposed by Korkeamäki et al. (2018).

Second, as the acquisition of competitive third party funding often depends on the research output of professors (Grunig 1997), researchers in accounting might have less access to third party funding. Research foundations and other institutions have already identified this unintended implication as they ask for a more deliberate use of metrics to proxy for research quality. For example, the European Research Council (ERC) and the German Research Foundation (DFG) recently signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which argues against a use of journal-based metrics in promotion, hiring, or funding decisions to asses an individual researcher’s scientific contribution.Footnote 12

This paper proceeds as follows. Section 2 describes our data and the applied methodology. Next, we present our results in Section 3. Section 4 provides additional evidence on the significance of behavioral differences in the field of accounting. Last, Section 5 discusses the results and implications.

Data and Methodology

Sample and Descriptive Statistics

Our data collection process starts by identifying all German universities that have the right to grant doctorates and have a business administration and/or economics faculty. After having identified these universities, we browse the web pages of the universities at the end of 2018 and collect the names of all business administration professors (n = 1116) at the respective business administration (or economics) faculties. Next, we gather CV information for each professor. For this purpose, we browse the CVs of the professors that are available online on the webpages of the universities or the personal webpages of the professors. We collect information (year and institution) regarding each career step (graduation, doctorate, habilitation, first tenured professorship) as well as demographic information (year of birth and gender) for each professor. For 70 professors we are not able to derive any information online, which restricts our sample to 1046 individuals.

To examine publication behavior in different fields of business administration, we merge data regarding the publications of the professors in our sample with our initial CV dataset. The online research-monitoring portal Forschungsmonitoring provides us with this publication data. This publication data is of high quality, as Forschungsmonitoring not only retrieves information from publication databases but also asks researchers to correct and complement their publication records.Footnote 13 The publication data contains information about the title, year, journal, and coauthors of all publications for each researcher. While merging our hand-collected CV data with the publication data, we drop eight professors, as they are not included in the publication dataset. Furthermore, we restrict the Forschungsmonitoring data to publications classified as “research articles” as we only focus on journal publications and further exclude conference presentations and conference proceedings. Also, we omit professors without any publications which are classified as research articles. Thus, our final dataset consists of 28,992 publications written by 1016 professors.

To assign each professor a field of business administration, we follow Eisend and Schuchert-Güler (2015), who use the fields in the journal Business Research, now Schmalenbach Journal of Business Research, as a classification scheme. According to the denomination of the respective professorship, we assign each professor to one of the following fields: accounting (n = 191), business information systems (n = 74), finance (n = 169), management (n = 265), marketing (n = 124), and operations (n = 137). We add a seventh category called other (n = 56) for those professors who do not fit in one of the above-listed categories.Footnote 14 Please note that we include financial accounting, managerial accounting and taxation professors in the accounting group. The operations group contains, according to the Business Research classification—besides operations professors—professors in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation management, and thus is quite heterogeneous. The group of other professors largely consists of business education professors.Footnote 15

Table 1 reports summary statistics on the variables derived from the professor’s CVs that we use later in our regression analyses. E.g., the average time to tenure, i.e., the difference in years between the PhD and the first tenured professorship, is approximately seven years. The average age at which the professors in our data obtained their first tenured professorship is 37 years. On average, a professor in our sample has been tenured for roughly 12 years in 2018. Our sample includes 188 women, which equals approximately 19% of our sample.Footnote 16

Table 1 Descriptive statistics

Publication Behavior Variables

To explore the publication behavior in different fields of business administration, we build on all publications of each professor as of the end of 2018 as provided by Forschungsmonitoring. Based on this data, we create a set of new variables. These variables help us to improve our understanding of differences in publication behavior of professors in several business administration fields.Footnote 17 In order to provide a better overview over our results, we cluster these variables into four dimensions according to our research questions.

First, we investigate the national focus of the German business administration professors. Therefore, we calculate the share of publications with a German title. To do so, we apply Google’s Compact Language Detector 2 (Ooms 2018) on the titles of every publication. After having identified all publications with German titles, we compute for each professor in our data the fraction of publications with a German title. Next, we calculate for each field the mean of publications with a German title over all professors in the respective field. Second, we measure the share of publications in DACH region journals. To derive this variable, we process all journals included in our dataset by hand and tag those that originate from one of the three DACH countries.Footnote 18Footnote 19 Table 1 shows that the professors in our data set publish on average about 40% of their publications with German titles and almost every second (49%) publication in a DACH region journal.

Second, we analyze the focus on practitioner journals. In order to do so, we follow Fülbier and Weller (2011) and make use of the journal rating JQL3. More precisely, we classify D journals according to the JQL3 as well as journals where more than 50% of the respondents in the JQL3 survey stated that the journal is not primarily a scientific journal as practitioner journals. After having identified all practitioner journals, we compute the fraction of publications in practitioner journals for each professor individually. Next, we calculate the mean over all professors in the respective field to derive the average share of publications in practitioner journals for each field. Professors in our sample publish on average 18% of their papers in practitioner journals according to Table 1.

Third, we focus on three categories of publications in particularly prestigious journals. First, we focus on publications in journals included in the FT50 list (Vidgen et al. 2019; Zhang 2021; Fassin 2021). In particular, we calculate the number of publications in such journals for each professor before calculating the averages for each field. On average, professors in our sample have 1.73 FT50 publications. Second, we focus on publications in highly rated journals according to the JQL3 (Eisend 2011; Schrader and Henning-Thurau 2009). This rating essentially assigns any journal one of six categories: A+, A, B, C, D, and “not ranked”, with A+ being assigned to the journals with the highest attributed quality, i.e., the most prestigious journals. We focus on particularly highly rated journals and count the number of publications—not adjusted for the number of coauthors—in journals that are classified as A and A+, as well as the number of publications in journals that are classified A+.Footnote 20 Professors in our sample have 3.77 publications in journals classified at least as A and 0.67 publications in A+ journals on average.

Finally, we conduct a holistic evaluation of the professors’ publication output. We again focus on the JQL3, as it is often applied in evaluation practice, as well as in research (see, e.g., Clermont (2016)). Forschungsmonitoring transforms the classification scheme of the JQL3 (A+, A, B, C, D, not ranked) into respective points: 1.0, 0.5, 0.25, 0.1, 0.05, and 0.025. Based on these points, we calculate our variable as the sum of the weighted JQL3 points of a professor from the beginning of her publishing career until the end of 2018:

$$\mathrm{JQL}3\,\text{Score}_{i}={\sum }_{k=1}^{k=K}\frac{\text{Points}_{k}}{N_{k}}$$
(1)

The score for each professor i is calculated from k=1, i.e., the first publication at the beginning of the respective (publishing) career until k=K, the last publication until the year 2018. Pointsk are the JQL3 points of the journal in which publication k is published. We divide the JQL3 points by Nk, the number of coauthors of publication k. We supplement this analysis by replacing the JQL3 with two international journals ratings based on citations rather than expert judgements, the SJR (González-Pereira et al. 2010) and the SNIP (Moed 2010). More precisely, we replace the JQL3 points by points assigned to the respective journal according to these two international measures, which can range between 0.025 and 1.0.Footnote 21 On average, a business administration professor has a JQL3 Score of 2.37, which, e.g., translates into two single-authored publications in an A+ journal (e.g., Journal of Finance or Academy of Management Journal) and one A+ publication, which the professor has written with two coauthors.

Analytical Strategy

In order to answer our research questions, we estimate a series of OLS regression models with the publication behavior variables being our dependent variables twice. In the first models, our independent variable of interest is a dummy variable that equals 1, if a professor is classified as an accounting professor. Consequently, we compare accounting professors with the aggregate of the remaining fields. In the second models, we include dummy variables for all fields except accounting. In this setting, we compare accounting professors with professors in each of the other fields separately.

In all regression models, we include a set of control variables that have been found to impact publication output in previous literature. First, we apply the time to tenure, i.e., the difference in years between obtaining the PhD and obtaining the first tenured professorship. Second, we include the age at which the professors obtained their first tenured professorship. Third, we control for the years since the professors in our data obtained their first professorship. The three variables account for changing publication output during the academic life cycle of individual researchers (see, e.g., Rauber and Ursprung (2008)) as well as for changing publication output over time in general (see, e.g., Ayaita et al. (2019)). The fourth control variable is the gender of the professors as previous literature documents gender differences with regard to publication output (see, e.g., Hilber et al. (2021), Jokinen and Pehkonen (2017), Madison and Fahlman (2020)). Fifth, we control for the total number of publications, as a proxy for the overall publication activity of the professors. Lastly, we control for the number of different coauthors a professor has collaborated with as prior literature shows a relationship between academic networks and research output (see, e.g., Ductor (2015), Li et al. (2013)).

Results

National Focus

Descriptive Evidence

Panel A of Table 2 shows distinct differences between the business administration fields concerning the share of publications with German titles. While accounting professors publish 66.29% of their papers with a German title on average, professors in the remaining business administration fields typically publish less than 40% of their papers with German titles on average.

Table 2 Descriptive statistics regarding the national focus and the focus on practitioner journals

Panel B of Table 2 shows a similar result concerning the share of publications in DACH region journals. Again, accounting professors on average publish most of their papers for a national audience (75.27%), whereas professors in the remaining business administration fields publish substantially less often (50% or lower) in such journals.

Regression Results

Columns (1) to (4) of Table 3 present our regression results with regard to the national focus of the professors. In column (1), we report a statistically significant difference between accounting professors and their peers in the remaining fields concerning the share of publications with German titles. The size of the coefficient equals 0.2859 (p-value = 0.0000), which is economically meaningful given that the average share of publications with German titles of all professors in our regression sample equals 41.91%.

Table 3 OLS regressions on national focus and focus on practitioner journals

Column (2) displays the results with accounting professors as the reference group, i.e., accounting professors are compared with each other field individually. The difference regarding the share of publications with German titles between accounting professors and professors in each other field is statistically significant for all comparisons. Our model indicates that the largest difference exists between operations and accounting professors (−0.3656, p-value = 0.0000), whereas the smallest difference exists between business information systems and accounting professors (−0.2527, p-value = 0.0000).

Column (3) reports the difference between accounting professors and all remaining fields concerning the share of publications in DACH region journals. Again, the difference is highly significant. The coefficient equals 0.2889 (p-value = 0.0000), which we consider economically meaningful in light of the average share of publications in DACH region journals of 51.26% in our regression sample.

Column (4) displays findings for the comparison of accounting professors to each remaining field separately. Similar to our results with respect to the share of publications with German titles, we find statistically significant differences between accounting professors and professors in each other field regarding the share of publications in DACH region journals. Again, the difference is largest when we compare operations and accounting professors (−0.3700, p-value = 0.0000) and smallest when we compare accounting and business information systems professors (−0.2100, p-value = 0.0000). Taken together, these results underline that accounting professors possess a stronger national focus when publishing their academic work compared to their peers in the other business administration fields.

Focus on Practitioner Journals

Descriptive Evidence

Panel C of Table 2 show the average share of publications in practitioner journals of the professors in each business administration field. Accounting professors publish on average 35.61% of their papers in such journals, which is the highest fraction among all business administration fields. In contrast, business administration professors in the remaining fields publish on average less than 20% of their papers in practitioner journals.

Regression Results

Column (5) of Table 3 presents our results with respect to the difference in the share of publications in practitioner journals between accounting professors and their peers in other fields. According to our model, this difference accounts for 0.1814 and is statistically significant (p-value = 0.0000). Given the size of the coefficient, we consider this difference economically relevant, as the average share of publications in practitioner journals equals 19.50% in our regression sample.

Column (6) shows the results where we compare accounting professors with the remaining business administration fields separately. We find significant differences for all fields. Again, the largest difference exists between operations and accounting professors (−0.2336, p-value = 0.0000). The smallest difference exists between finance and accounting professors (−0.1393, p-value = 0.0000). Overall, the regression results show that accounting professors rely more heavily on publications in practitioner journals compared to professors in other business administration fields.

Focus on Highly Rated Journals

Descriptive Evidence

Panel A of Table 4 presents the average number of publications—not adjusted for co-authorship—in FT50 journals of the professors in each field. We find that marketing professors in our sample have 3.28 FT50 publications on average, which is the highest value among all fields. In contrast, accounting (0.85) and business information systems professors (0.82) have the lowest average number of FT50 publications. Professors in the remaining fields have between 1.44 (finance) and 2.25 (operations) FT50 publications on average.

Table 4 Descriptive statistics regarding publications in highly rated journals and the holistic view on publication records

Panel B of Table 4 shows the average number of publications in journals that have at least an A rating according to the JQL3. In contrast to the list of FT50 journals, more than 90 journals fulfill this criterion. Given that there are distinctly more A journals according to the JQL3 than journals in the FT50 list, we find higher average values in Panel B compared to Panel A. Operations (6.04) and marketing (5.81) professors publish the most publications on average in such journals. By quite some margin, accounting professors have the fewest publications on average in at least A‑rated journals (1.81). Professors in the remaining fields on average have between 3.5 and 4 of these publications.

Panel C of Table 4 displays the average number of publications in A+ journals according to the JQL3. The JQL3 classifies 22 journals as A+ journals. With the only exception of the journal Science, all A+ journals are also included in the FT50 list. As there are only few A+ journals according to the JQL3, we find comparatively low averages in Panel C. Again, we find that marketing professors have the highest average number of such publications (1.89), whereas accounting (0.38) and business information systems professors (0.39) have the lowest average number of A+ publications.

Regression Results

Columns (1) to (6) of Table 5 report our regression results regarding the focus on publications in highly rated journals. Column (1) confirms that accounting professors publish significantly less in FT50 journals. The difference between accounting and the other professors accounts for −0.9394 (p-value = 0.0059). This difference is also economically meaningful given that the average in our dataset accounts to 1.70. In column (2), we compare accounting professors with the remaining fields separately and find significant differences compared to business information systems, management, marketing, and operations professors. The largest difference exists between accounting and marketing professors (2.2963, p-value = 0.0000). In contrast, we find no significant difference between accounting and finance professors regarding the number of publications in FT50 journals.

Table 5 OLS regressions on publications in highly rated journals and on the holistic view on publication records

Column (3) presents our results regarding the difference between accounting professors and those in other fields with respect to publications in journals that have at least an A rating according to the JQL3. The regression model shows that accounting professors publish 2.1349 papers less in such journals in comparison to professors in the other fields. This difference is statistically significant (p-value = 0.0000) and, again, economically relevant as well. We focus on the differences between accounting professors and their peers in the remaining fields separately in column (4). We find that finance, management, marketing and operations professors have significantly more publications in such journals compared to accounting professors. In contrast, regression results show no significant difference between accounting and business information systems professors.

Column (5) reports the results from the regression model, where we compare accounting professors to those in other fields regarding the number of publications in A+ journals. Our regression result reveal that accounting professors have significantly less publications in such journals compared to their peers in other fields. In particular, this difference accounts for −0.3123 (p-value = 0.0901), which is economically meaningful given that the average number of publications in A+ journals in our regression sample equals 0.62. Column (6) shows that this difference between accounting professors and their peers in other fields is largely triggered by the marketing professors. Marketing professors publish 1.4925 more papers in A+ journals compared to accounting professors, which is statistically significant (p-value = 0.0000). In contrast, the differences between accounting professors and professors in business information systems, finance, management, or operations are not statistically significant.

Holistic View on All Journal Publications

Descriptive Evidence

Panel D of Table 4 presents descriptive evidence concerning the JQL3 Score of the professors in the different business administration fields. We find that marketing professors have the highest average JQL3 Score among all business administration fields (3.05). Even though accounting professors have the lowest average score (2.11), the value is relatively close to the averages of the professors in the other fields (e.g., finance professors have an average score of 2.43).

Both international measures for journal quality also document that accounting professors have the lowest scores. Panel E shows that accounting professors have an average SJR Score of 0.82, whereas marketing professors have the highest scores (1.90). Panel F shows that accounting professors have the lowest SNIP Score of 1.37 compared to the highest scoring field in this dimension, operations (3.50).

Regression Results

Columns (7) and (8) of Table 5 show our regression results with regard to the JQL3 Score. In column (7) we find that the holistic publication record as measured by this score is significantly lower for accounting professors in comparison to the other business administration fields. More precisely, the difference accounts to −0.4268 (p-value = 0.0069), which is roughly 17% of the average score of our regression sample. Column (8) presents differences between accounting professors and their peers in the other fields separately. The regression model shows no significant difference between business information systems and accounting professors. Yet, professors in the remaining fields finance, management, marketing, and operations have significantly higher scores than accounting professors.

Both of our international measures, the SJR and the SNIP Score, corroborate our findings with respect to the JQL3 Score. Column (9) documents a statistically significant and economically relevant (−0.7545, p-value = 0.0000) difference between accounting professors and their peers in the other fields. This difference accounts for roughly 53% of the average score of our regression sample. Our regression model in column (11) displays that accounting professors have significantly lower SNIP Scores compared to their peers in the other fields. The size of the coefficient equals −1.4694 (p-value = 0.0000), which again is economically relevant (56% of the average score of our regression sample) as well.

Further Analyses

Decomposing the Behavioral Differences

To explain the documented gap in publication behavior between accounting professors and those in other fields, we decompose the difference between these two groups using a Blinder-Oaxaca counterfactual decomposition (Blinder 1973; Oaxaca 1973), which typically has been employed to explain gender differences in outcome variables (see, e.g., Bannier et al. (2019)). In our study, we apply a twofold counterfactual decomposition of the following form:

$$\overline{Y_{R}}-\overline{Y_{A}}=\underset{\textit{explained}}{\underbrace{\overset{\left(I\right)}{\overbrace{\left(\overline{X_{R}}-\overline{X_{A}}\right)'\beta ^{\cdot }} } } }+\underset{\textit{unexplained}}{\underbrace{\overset{\left(II\right)}{\overbrace{\overline{X}_{R}'\left(\beta _{R}-\beta ^{\cdot }\right)} }+\overset{\left(III\right)}{\overbrace{\overline{X}_{A}'\left(\beta ^{\cdot }-\beta _{A}\right)} } } }$$
(2)

Here, \(\overline{Y_{R}}-\overline{Y_{A}}\) denotes the outcome differential in our publication behavior variables between professors in the remaining fields (R) and accounting professors (A), and X is a vector capturing individual characteristics as well as a constant. \(\beta ^{\cdot }\)denotes a coefficient vector estimated from a pooled regression over the two groups, and βR and βA are the coefficients derived from separately regressing the publication behavior variables on the individual characteristics of accounting professors and those in the remaining fields. The twofold decomposition divides the differences with respect to the publication behavior variables between accounting professors and those in the remaining fields into two parts. The first part is the part that can be explained by differences in group characteristics based on our control variables, i.e., the same variables that we use in the OLS regressions. The second part is the part that cannot be explained by differences in these group characteristics, and hence is called the unexplained part. In our setting, this part is the part capturing behavioral differences between accounting professors and professors in the remaining business administration fields.

Table 6 reports the results applying the nine publication behavior variables. In each model, we control for the same set of control variables that we used in our OLS regressions in the previous section. Our results show that the coefficients of the unexplained parts are statistically significant in all models, while the coefficients of the explained parts are not always significant. Additionally, the fraction of the explained respectively the unexplained effects differ substantially. For example, in column (1) the observed difference between accounting and non-accounting professors regarding the share of publications with a German title accounts for 0.3213. Our decomposition approach splits this difference into an explained effect of 0.0354 (11.02%) and an unexplained effect of 0.2858 (88.98%). We observe similar patterns for the remaining variables as well. For instance, the observed difference in the share of publications in practitioner journals between accounting and non-accounting professors equals 0.2077. This difference is decomposed into an explained part of 0.0263 (12.66%) and an unexplained part of 0.1814 (87.34%). Taken together, our decomposition results show that the part of the observed difference that can be explained by differences in characteristics between accounting and non-accounting professors is rather small compared to the unexplained part. Thus, this finding strengthens our argument that we actually observe behavioral differences between accounting professors and their peers in other business administration fields.

Table 6 Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition

Publication Training

An alternative explanation for our results might be that accounting professors differ from those in other fields of business administration in that they receive less training on how to publish internationally or in particularly highly rated journals. Researchers could receive such training through two potential channels. First, they could receive formal training on how to publish in renowned international journals by attending specific PhD courses on this issue. Second, they could receive informal training through their academic networks. Unfortunately, we lack data on PhD courses attended by the professors in our data. Additionally, a large fraction of professors in our data did not participate in a formal PhD program.

In order to investigate the second channel, however, we conduct a series of additional regression analyses in which we use a proxy for informal training. In particular, we create the dummy variable International Visit that equals 1, if professors mentions at least one international visit (e.g., a research visit) in their CVs. Such visits might help to establish international networks or receive additional input on how to publish successfully internationally. 58.12% of the accounting professors in our data mention at least one of these international visits, which is below the fraction of professors in the remaining fields (65.09%). This difference is statistically significant on the 10%-level (χ2 = 2.97). Given that accounting professors differ significantly from those in the remaining fields regarding this publication training proxy, it could be possible that this proxy helps to explain why accounting professors are different compared to their peers with respect to the publication behavior variables.

In order to determine whether this holds true, we estimate a series of additional OLS regressions. In a first step, we include the dummy variable International Visit as an additional control variable in the models that we discussed in Section 3. Panel A of Table 7 presents the respective results, which highlight two aspects. First, we document that our publication training proxy is significantly related to several of the dependent variables. More precisely, the regression results show that professors who mention an international visit in their CVs tend to publish less of their papers with German titles or in DACH region journals. Additionally, these professors publish a lower fraction of their papers in practitioner journals. Furthermore, we find that professors with an international visit in their CV have higher scores with respect to their holistic publication records. Second, our results show that although we control for the publication training proxy, our results regarding the difference between accounting professors and their peers in other fields remain robust. So, we still document a stronger national focus, a stronger focus on practitioner journals, a lower number of publications in highly renowned journals, and lower scores regarding the holistic publication records. The magnitude of the coefficients of the accounting dummy decreases only marginally.

Table 7 Publication training

In a second step, we analyze whether accounting professors who received publication training according to our proxy act differently compared to accounting professors who did not receive such training. In order to address this research question, we estimate a series of OLS regressions in which we include the following variables. First, a dummy variable Non-Accounting Professors that equals 1, if a professor is not classified as an accounting professor. Second, a dummy variable that equals 1, if a professor received publication training as measured by our proxy. Third, an interaction term between both dummy variables. In addition, we include our set of control variables that we utilized in our earlier regression models as well.

Panel B of Table 7 presents the results. We document significant differences between non-accounting professors and accounting professors who both did not receive publication training in terms of our dependent variables as indicated by the coefficient of the non-accounting dummy. These findings are consistent with our previous findings. With respect to the publication training effect for accounting professors, we find that accounting professors with publication training publish with a lower national focus and focus less on practitioner journals when compared to their peers who did not receive this training. Furthermore, we document that the accounting professors who received this training have higher publication scores as measured by the JQL3 Score and the SNIP Score. We derive these results from the coefficient of the dummy variable International Visit. Lastly, our regression models yield insignificant coefficients regarding the interaction term. This result suggests that we do not find a significant difference in the extent to which international visits affect the publications of accounting and non-accounting professors.

Accounting Sub-fields

Given that our results indicate that publication records of accounting professors differ from publication records of their peers in many ways, we provide a more in-depth analysis of the accounting professors. To do so, we assign accounting professors to one of the three groups financial accounting, managerial accounting, and taxation according to the denomination of their chairs. For professors, where a unique assignment was not possible (n = 47), we applied a Bayesian learning algorithm to provide a unique assignment.Footnote 22 This process yields in 76 financial accounting, 69 managerial accounting, and 49 taxation professors.

Panel A of Table 8 displays our results regarding the national focus of the accounting sub-fields. Panel A shows that taxation professors (78.70%) publish the highest share of their papers with German titles. This value is distinctly higher, than the averages for financial accounting (67.51%) and managerial accounting (56.34%) professors. The same pattern persists when analyzing the share of publications in DACH region journals. Taxation professors publish 84.75% of their papers in DACH region journals, which is a distinctly higher percentage than financial accounting (75.91%) and managerial accounting (67.99%) professors.

Table 8 Accounting sub-fields

Panel C of Table 8 shows the results of our analysis regarding the focus on publications in practitioner journals. We find that taxation professors in our sample publish 41.70% of their papers in such journals, which is the highest fraction among the accounting sub-fields and significantly more compared to the mean of the remaining accounting sub-fields financial accounting (35.18%) and managerial accounting (31.84%) (p-value = 0.0776).

Panels D to F of Table 8 presents results concerning the focus on top publications in the accounting sub-fields. Panel D shows that the managerial accounting professors have an average of 1.42 FT50 publications, which mirrors the average of the finance professors in our sample (1.44). In contrast, financial accounting professors (0.74) and taxation professors (0.25) have substantially fewer FT50 publications on average. Panels E and F report similar results when we focus on publications in A respectively A+ journals according to the JQL3.

Panels G to I of Table 8 shows our results for the holistic view on all journal publications. Panel G reports the results regarding the JQL3 Score and finds that managerial accounting professors have the highest average score (2.33) compared to financial accounting (1.97) and taxation (1.88) professors. We find similar results when applying the SJR Score in Panel H. Again, managerial accounting professors have the highest average score (1.02) in comparison to financial accounting (0.71) and taxation (0.67) professors. Lastly, we focus on the SNIP Score in Panel I and find a similar pattern again: managerial accounting professors have the highest average score (1.75) when compared to financial accounting (1.27) and taxation (0.93) professors.

Overall, our analyses regarding the accounting sub-fields yield interesting results. We find that especially the taxation professors have the strongest national focus, whereas managerial and financial accounting professors publish more internationally. Furthermore, we find that managerial accounting professors focus on publishing in particularly highly rated journals as more than one-third have at least one publication in a FT50 journal or a journal classified at least as an A journal according to the JQL3 (not reported). This is also evident when looking at the entire publication records, where our findings indicate that managerial accounting professors accumulate the highest score compared to their peers who operate in financial accounting or taxation.

Discussion and Implications

Based on a hand-collected dataset consisting of all business administration professors in Germany, this paper substitutes anecdotal with empirical evidence regarding the differences in publication behavior between different business administration fields, where we focus especially on accounting researchers. While we are aware that the term “publication behavior” might contain more dimensions than we analyze in this paper, e.g., the structure of professional networks or publications in other outlets like legal comments, we focus on journal publications exclusively and address four particular dimensions. First, we analyze differences regarding the national focus. Second, we study differences in terms of a focus on practitioner journals. Third, we investigate differences concerning the focus on publications in highly rated international journals. Fourth, we provide evidence regarding the entire publication portfolio of the professors as measured by a coauthor-weighted count variable based on different journal ratings.

Our results highlight significant differences between the different business administration fields. Concretely, we show that accounting professors publish a substantial fraction of their papers with German titles or in DACH region journals. In contrast, our analyses highlight that operations professors have a strong international focus. Additionally, we present evidence that accounting professors focus more strongly on publications in practitioner journals. The tendency of accounting professors to publish more in practitioner journals and for a German audience, might be one reason why accounting professors publish least often in highly rated international journals, whereas marketing or operations professors frequently publish in those journals. When we analyze the entire publication records of professors as measured by scores based on journal ratings, we also find that accounting professors accumulate lower aggregate scores compared to the remaining business administration fields.

In order to decompose our finding that accounting professors differ with respect to the four dimensions of publication behavior, we analyze whether the observed differences can be explained by common factors. Conducting a Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition, however, we find that the paramount part of the differences between fields cannot be explained by common factors. In addition, we explore whether accounting professors differ with respect to their publication training from the professors in the remaining fields. Regarding our proxy for publication training, i.e., whether a professor lists an international visit in the CV, we find that accounting professors less often report such an international visit. However, the difference is rather small in magnitude and only statistically significant at the 10% level. We find that international visits, on the one hand, are negatively related to the fraction of publications for a national audience as well for practitioners. On the other hand, professors with an international visit have more publications in highly rated journals as well as higher scores for the holistic view on the publication output. In addition, our proxy for publication training does not affect accounting professors differently compared to their peers in the other fields. Consequently, differences in publication training cannot explain the differences in our publication behavior variables. Finally, we find that within the field of accounting, taxation and financial accounting professors are the main driver of the results for accounting professors. These sub-fields are more concerned with German law and regulations, thus publish more for a German audience. In addition, taxation and financial accounting professors have a weaker presence in international journals compared to professors in managerial accounting.

The finding that publication behavior in accounting differs strongly regarding many aspects compared to the remaining business administration fields corresponds to findings of previous research. For example, Grossmann et al. (2019) and Templeton and Lewis (2015) provide evidence against so-called “inclusion fairness” for accounting scholars, i.e., they show that there is fewer publication space in highly rated accounting journals compared to other business administration fields. Similar observations are made by Korkeamäki et al. (2018) who show that the value of a single-authored publication in a top-rated journal is highest in accounting as opposed to finance or marketing for example. Our analyses provide complementing evidence that accounting professors find it more difficult to publish in highly rated journals. Not only is it more difficult for accounting researchers in general to claim rare spots in highly rated journals (e.g., Grossmann et al. (2019)), German accounting researchers also have to cope with an additional disadvantage in the publication game. I.e., these researchers particularly conduct research on topics, which are primarily relevant for a national audience and thus have lower chances of their work being published in international journals.

Our paper contains several important implications for resource allocation. First and most importantly, our paper contains implications regarding the distribution of research funds within business administration faculties. In many universities, research funds are distributed based on the research output of the professors (Hicks 2012). Typically, professors with more publications or more publications in more highly rated journals will receive a higher share of the funds that the faculty can distribute among the professors. According to the findings of our study, accounting professors could potentially receive a rather low fraction of the allocated funds, if these measures were applied naively. In contrast, marketing professors, which publish most often in highly rated journals, are likely to attract the largest funding in the resource allocation process.

Thus, faculties should think about putting allocation mechanisms in place, which do not naively compare professors in different disciplines according to a measure like the number of publications in a highly rated journal. For example, one remedy is to compare professors within their field and not to their colleagues within the faculty. For example, if an accounting professor belongs to the most successful accounting professors with regard to our measures for publication output (e.g., if the professor ranks in the highest quintile of the accounting professors in Germany), a faculty might want to treat this professor equally to a marketing professor in the top quintile in her field. Admittedly, this approach is difficult to execute, since publication records of the peers in each field are not readily available. A second approach—which is less cumbersome with respect to data gathering—might be to adjust the research output of the professors for the highlighted behavioral differences. Such an approach has been suggested by Korkeamäki et al. (2018) and could be applied prior to the performance-based allocation of funds within business administration faculties. Concretely, exchange rates between the fields might be an option to account for behavioral differences between fields.

Two additional implications of the documented differences in publication behavior for resource allocation are the acquisition of competitive third party funding and the recruiting for new professorship positions, especially in the case of broader calls for applications. E.g., there are cases where professorships in the field “Finance and Accounting” have been advertised. If candidates from the two fields are evaluated based on one of the journal ratings applied in this study, the applicants from the field of accounting are likely having a hard stance. A similar issue can emerge when a faculty has to decide in which field a new professorship should be created. Although this decision will be largely guided by strategic decision content-wise, screening the potential candidates might also influence the decision. E.g., if a position is being created at the intersection of finance and financial accounting, a job market research might reveal that there are a number of candidates with at least five A+ publications in finance, whereas few potential candidates with at least five A+ publications might be identified for the field of financial accounting. In this hypothetical example, the professorship might be created in the field of finance and not in financial accounting. Finally, the competition on competitive third party funding can also be influenced by differences in publication behavior as funding depends on the research output of professors (Grunig 1997). However, we believe that the issue is less critical here, since applications of finance professors are refereed by finance professors and the same holds true for accounting professors.