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December 20, 2005


ISI Mania

I have just came across your Blog and I like your comparison of rankings and wine scores. I work for an academic journal publisher in the UK, and we face an uphill battle on several fronts because of rankings - because we not not in the US where the 'main' business schools are, because of ISI, because we publish 'international' journals. Rankings are a case of the tail wagging the dog, it is is hard to get any sort of message across about quality outside of these rankings. There are moves afoot in Europe to put together its own ISI-type ranking, however this is another example of a metric defining something which simply may not be definable.
Anyway, it is good that someone at HBS is thinking about this sort of stuff, and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts now you are on my Blogroll.

PS Have just read the Houellebecq book myself, which is called 'Atomised' in the UK - loved it!


Great post---and by the way, you were great on the Tom Ashbrook show! I can see how your concern about "winner-take-all" CEO markets could spill over to education rankings...I think Robert Frank compares these phenomena in The Winner Take All Society.

The nuance you are calling for here imposes some costs--namely, people can't easily peg a school to a rank. I wonder whether the "tiers" or "terracing" of rank you call for happens already among sophisticated observers. Of course, even if it does, the real audience for the rankings are the that's a worry.

I look at some of the perils of ranking by search engines here:

and the citations to Stake in that piece should point in the direction of an Indiana L.J. symposium that raised very interesting questions about law school ranking.

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