Comprehensive scholarly publishing dataset reveals publication rates in 170 disciplines at US universities

Academic Analytics Research Center (AARC)

Academic Analytics Research Center (AARC) shared comprehensive data on scholarly publication rates in 170 disciplines. The newly available data tables show the rate of journal article, book, conference proceeding, and book chapter publications over different time periods and across different career stages in each discipline.

“There’s a huge range of bibliometric activity across disciplines and by scholars at different points in their career, and limited access to data like these means that those differences aren’t always taken into account by university committees and administrators making comparisons across fields” according to project participant Dick Wheeler, Graduate Dean Emeritus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Senior Academic Advisor, AARC.

An accompanying essay outlines documents potential pitfalls in bibliometric evaluation across disciplines that the new dataset can be used to address. Mean (average) publication rates, for example, are often skewed higher due to a small number of exceptionally well-published faculty members, potentially resulting in unrealistic publishing expectations. Meanwhile, focusing on journal articles puts some disciplines at a disadvantage in comparative evaluations because books (e.g., English language and Literature) or conference proceedings (e.g., Electrical Engineering) are more common modes of knowledge dissemination. Characteristic rhythms of publication – how often one publishes and in what venues – show great variation, even among closely related disciplines.

The dataset contributors believe that by making these data public, administrative leaders at research universities and others who rely on bibliometric evaluation can more comprehensively characterize publishing activity. The contributors also underscore that publishing is only one aspect of scholarship at research-intensive institutions, and publishing should always be considered within the context of teaching, service, career stage and objectives, individual circumstances, and myriad other responsibilities taken on by faculty members.

The full dataset can be accessed via OSF:

The accompanying text is available via SocArxiv:

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