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Political Science Professors Leaders in Field with Publications

December 16, 2013

UC Merced political science professors publish in leading journals and with top university presses at a rate that outpaces just about every other elite institution.

The finding — an example of the faculty’s research prowess — comes from a recent study produced by Professor Nathan Monroe that evaluated each faculty member’s publication rate since earning his or her Ph.D.

“Our faculty is publishing cutting edge research in the top outlets in the field at an extremely high rate,” Monroe said. “If our faculty and Ph.D program continues to grow we expect to be widely recognized as one of the top political science programs in the country.”

In publishing in the top six journals and top six presses, UC Merced is only behind Washington University (St. Louis)  in the mean rate of publication. It’s ahead of many other universities, including Harvard, Stanford, UC San Diego, Yale and other institutions highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

The study also showed UC Merced’s 10 political science faculty members publish at the highest rate in the top six journals and fall to second when looking only at faculty members who have earned a Ph.D. since 1998.

In political science, where grant dollars are scarce, peer-reviewed journal and book publications are the most important metric of faculty success, the study notes. The finding highlights the campus’s emphasis on researching important topics that create new understanding in political science.

During the fall, Monroe tallied the number of papers published by each university in American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, World Politics, International Organization and British Journal of Political Science. He combined that with the number of books they have published with university presses at Cambridge, Princeton, Oxford, Chicago, Yale and Harvard, and then calculated the average number of publications per year.

The study doesn’t factor in subjective rankings, graduate student training or job placement. Still, it is an example of the tremendous output of quality research produced by UC Merced professors.

“In sum, while it may take an additional 5 to 10 years before UC Merced shows up on official rankings lists,” the study concludes, “using this objective indicator of publication success suggests that UC Merced is on track to become a leading political science program.”