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September 17, 2010


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The problem with median is that it's not really a snapshot of "the school," it's just one person! And while, in most cases, the one who turns out to be the median isn't anomalous, in some cases they are, and may obscure the presence of a significant number of high 'impact' scholars on the same faculty. (I haven't looked, by the way, at your re-ranking, so I'm simply reporting what I recall from reviewing the data for the initial study.)

Alfred Brophy

Brian--thanks for your comment and for everything you're doing to bring rationality to rankings.

A combination is likely helpful, of course. Why throw away data? A weighted score that combines the mean and median make a ton of sense. But the median (middle person) is selected by the balance of the school and so that person can give us a sense of the entire school. What impressed me about the re-ranking is that there are some schools whose median is rather different from their weighted rank. I've just put up another pdf, which has a final column that lists the difference between the mean and median for each school, so it's easier to pick out the schools with large differences between mean and median ranks.

Rick Garnett

One note about your list - if you go to the Sisk, et al. paper, it turns out that there was a fairly serious error made in calculating Notre Dame's score. The error has been corrected, and so Notre Dame's rank moves up about 18 spots. The mean and median have changed, too. You might want to change your own list accordingly, FWIW.

Alfred Brophy

Thanks for this, Rick. I now see there's a new version of the paper up on ssrn. I'll get to preparing revised tables.

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