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Variability of research performance across disciplines within universities in non-competitive higher education systems

by   Giovanni Abramo, et al.

Many nations are adopting higher education strategies that emphasize the development of elite universities able to compete at the international level in the attraction of skills and resources. Elite universities pursue excellence in all their disciplines and fields of action. The impression is that this does not occur in "non-competitive" education systems, and that instead, within single universities excellent disciplines will coexist with mediocre ones. To test this, the authors measure research productivity in the hard sciences for all Italian universities over the period 2004-2008 at the levels of the institution, their individual disciplines and fields within them. The results show that the distribution of excellent disciplines is not concentrated in a few universities: top universities show disciplines and fields that are often mediocre, while generally mediocre universities will often include top disciplines.


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