What are Research Expectations? A Comparative Study of Different Academic Disciplines

Jonathan D. Linton*, Robert Tierney, Steven T. Walsh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is intended to assist professors, administrators, librarians and other members of university level committees that must consider research expectations and research quality in academic fields that they lack. While this is not a problem for field experts, it is a difficulty when people are asked to make decisions in areas of study other than their own. This is commonly the case for senior university professors, librarians and administrators in regards to university wide decisions. The paper investigates this gap, through a study of 27 academic fields in 348 highly regarded universities. We find that there are almost always statistically significant differences in activity between academic fields, regardless of the metric one considers. However, it is possible to understand these differences by comparing the distribution of a known academic field to that of a field that one is not familiar with. Tables and information are provided to assist in the comparison of different fields of study on metrics such as: departmental publications and researcher level metrics of publications, citations, H-index, and total number of co-authors. The information can also be used to support decisions associated with promotion to senior posts such as endowed chairs and professorships. Information regarding specific universities and researchers are included in the data supplement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-234
JournalSerials review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Research
  • Metrics
  • Interdisciplinary
  • H-index
  • Citations
  • Evaluation


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