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Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks.

Clauset A, Arbesman S, Larremore DB - Sci Adv (2015)

Bottom Line: Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network-who hires whose graduates as faculty-we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines.Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality.These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA. ; BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA. ; Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA.

ABSTRACT
The faculty job market plays a fundamental role in shaping research priorities, educational outcomes, and career trajectories among scientists and institutions. However, a quantitative understanding of faculty hiring as a system is lacking. Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network-who hires whose graduates as faculty-we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines. Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality. Furthermore, doctoral prestige alone better predicts ultimate placement than a U.S. News & World Report rank, women generally place worse than men, and increased institutional prestige leads to increased faculty production, better faculty placement, and a more influential position within the discipline. These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

No MeSH data available.


Core-periphery patterns.(A to C) For several institutions within each disciplinary hiring network, we highlight the tree of shortest paths rooted at each u within this network (black) for (A) computer science, (B) business, and (C) history (vertex size is proportional to out-degree, and lighter colors indicate higher prestige). As prestige increases (left), the paths in these trees contract, reflecting a more central network position, increased faculty production, and better faculty placement.
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Figure 4: Core-periphery patterns.(A to C) For several institutions within each disciplinary hiring network, we highlight the tree of shortest paths rooted at each u within this network (black) for (A) computer science, (B) business, and (C) history (vertex size is proportional to out-degree, and lighter colors indicate higher prestige). As prestige increases (left), the paths in these trees contract, reflecting a more central network position, increased faculty production, and better faculty placement.

Mentions: Together, these results are broadly consistent with an academic system organized in a classic core-periphery pattern (17), in which increased prestige correlates with occupying a more central, better connected, and more influential network position (18) (Fig. 4). Supporting this conclusion, we find that standard measures of network centrality correlate strongly with prestige rank (see Supplementary Materials; fig. S8). For instance, the harmonic centrality—an inverse measure of the mean shortest-path distance from u to all other vertices (19)—increases smoothly with prestige, meaning that high-prestige institutions are separated from all other institutions by many fewer intermediaries than are low-prestige institutions. As a result, faculty at central institutions literally perceive a “small world” (20) as compared to faculty located in the periphery.


Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks.

Clauset A, Arbesman S, Larremore DB - Sci Adv (2015)

Core-periphery patterns.(A to C) For several institutions within each disciplinary hiring network, we highlight the tree of shortest paths rooted at each u within this network (black) for (A) computer science, (B) business, and (C) history (vertex size is proportional to out-degree, and lighter colors indicate higher prestige). As prestige increases (left), the paths in these trees contract, reflecting a more central network position, increased faculty production, and better faculty placement.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4644075&req=5

Figure 4: Core-periphery patterns.(A to C) For several institutions within each disciplinary hiring network, we highlight the tree of shortest paths rooted at each u within this network (black) for (A) computer science, (B) business, and (C) history (vertex size is proportional to out-degree, and lighter colors indicate higher prestige). As prestige increases (left), the paths in these trees contract, reflecting a more central network position, increased faculty production, and better faculty placement.
Mentions: Together, these results are broadly consistent with an academic system organized in a classic core-periphery pattern (17), in which increased prestige correlates with occupying a more central, better connected, and more influential network position (18) (Fig. 4). Supporting this conclusion, we find that standard measures of network centrality correlate strongly with prestige rank (see Supplementary Materials; fig. S8). For instance, the harmonic centrality—an inverse measure of the mean shortest-path distance from u to all other vertices (19)—increases smoothly with prestige, meaning that high-prestige institutions are separated from all other institutions by many fewer intermediaries than are low-prestige institutions. As a result, faculty at central institutions literally perceive a “small world” (20) as compared to faculty located in the periphery.

Bottom Line: Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network-who hires whose graduates as faculty-we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines.Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality.These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA. ; BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA. ; Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA.

ABSTRACT
The faculty job market plays a fundamental role in shaping research priorities, educational outcomes, and career trajectories among scientists and institutions. However, a quantitative understanding of faculty hiring as a system is lacking. Using a simple technique to extract the institutional prestige ranking that best explains an observed faculty hiring network-who hires whose graduates as faculty-we present and analyze comprehensive placement data on nearly 19,000 regular faculty in three disparate disciplines. Across disciplines, we find that faculty hiring follows a common and steeply hierarchical structure that reflects profound social inequality. Furthermore, doctoral prestige alone better predicts ultimate placement than a U.S. News & World Report rank, women generally place worse than men, and increased institutional prestige leads to increased faculty production, better faculty placement, and a more influential position within the discipline. These results advance our ability to quantify the influence of prestige in academia and shed new light on the academic system.

No MeSH data available.