What, who, or where? Rejoinder to "Identifying Research Topic Development in Business and Management Education Research Using Legitimation Code Theory"

Anne-Wil Harzing*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Arbaugh, Fornaciari, and Hwang (2016) use citation analysis—with Google Scholar (GS) as their source of citation data—to track the development of business and management education research by studying the field’s 100 most highly cited articles. The authors distinguish several factors that might have an impact on an article’s level of citations. In their own words,

In examining the growth of this research and the role of such prominent works for developing the field, we could not help but become intrigued by the idea of whether an article is well cited or recognized because of the topic it addresses, the profile of the author(s) who wrote it, some combination of these two factors, or other possible reasons. (Arbaugh et al., 2016)

Later in their article they single out the prominence of the journal that the article is published in as a third factor that might be influential.

Although these three factors might seem rather intuitive, and the authors certainly are not the first to identify them, there is a surprising dearth of studies in the bibliometrics literature that attempt to disentangle the relative impact of these factors on citation outcomes. The fact that it is rather difficult to operationalize variables such as author profile and topic relevance, let alone systematically collect data on these variables, might have prevented bibliometricians from attempting to conduct this type of study. Yet this question is of considerable relevance in the context of academic evaluation. If citation levels of individual articles are determined more by what is published (topic) and who publishes it (author) rather than by where it is published (journal), this would provide clear evidence that the frequently used practice of employing the ISI journal impact factor to evaluate individual articles or authors is inappropriate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-731
JournalJournal of management education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

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