Olin Business School profs earn top rankings in study of prolific authors

Study prompts a new look at the publish or perish principle in academia

A new study* of articles published in the top finance journals since 1959 places Anjan Thakor, PhD., associate dean and John E. Simon professor of finance at the Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis, at number four in the rankings — the top 1 percent — of most prolific authors.

Three more Olin professors are ranked in the top tier of the study which offers two separate lists comparing authors published in seven leading finance journals** and those published in 26 core finance journals***. In addition to ranking fourth in the select category of seven journals, Professor Thakor is number eleven among those published in the larger selection of 26 journals.

The study is based on published articles by more than 17,000 authors.

It’s not a question of publish or perish for the most prolific professors. In the case of Thakor who specializes in banking and financial institutions, he has published a total of 48 articles in the top finance journals in the period studied: 1959-2009. His total number of publications for all journals equals 56. Thakor received his Ph.D. in finance from Northwestern University in 1979.

“Olin faculty members are recognized the world over for their important contributions to the creation of new knowledge,” said Olin Business School Dean Mahendra Gupta in acknowledging the study’s results. “We take great pride in our research productivity, leadership and accomplishments.”

Other Olin professors ranked among the prolific include: Stuart Greenbaum, Ph.D. at 56 in the leading journals comparison (#144 in the core journals group), Philip Dybvig, Ph.D. at 184 (#239) and Guofu Zhou, Ph.D. at 295 (#268).

The study’s authors warn the ‘mere mortals’ in academia should not compare themselves to these ‘overachievers’ who lead the prolific pack of published professors. But they do suggest that universities should consider such hard data when comparing candidates for job openings, compensation, promotion, tenure and merit raises. “The findings here should aid in the development of those judgments, anchoring them in reality. The findings should help in the formation of expectations among junior and senior faculty and university administrators,” according to the study’s authors. The vast majority of authors publish only one article in the journals sited, making the multiple appearances by the prolific minority extremely notable.

*The study: “Most Prolific Authors in the Finance Literature: 1959-2008” by Jean L. Heck and Philip L. Cooley of Saint Joseph’s University and Trinity University, respectively.

**The seven leading finance journals include: Journal of Banking and Finance; Journal of Finance; Journal of Finanical Economics; Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis; Journal of Money, Credit and Banking; and Review of Financial Studies.

***The 26 core financial journals include: Financial Analysts Journal; Financial Management; Financial Review; Journal of Applied Corporate Finance; Journal of Applied Finance; Journal of Banking and Finance; Journal of Business Finance and Accounting; Journal of Corporate Finance; Journal of Derivatives; Journal of Empirical Finance; Journal of Finance; Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis; Journal of Financial Economics; Journal of Financial Intermediation; Journal of Financial Markets; Journal of Financial Research; Journal of Financial Services Research; Journal of Futures Markets; Journal of Money, Credit and Banking; Journal of Portfolio Management; Pacific Basin Finance Journal; Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance; Review of Derivatives Research; Review of Financial Studies; Review of Pacific Basin Financial Management and Policies; and Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting.