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Publication Productivity at Doctoral Programs

To the Editor:

On behalf of the highly productive faculty of the Boston University School of Social Work, I would like to register concerns about the article "The Middle Years of the Decade/Publications Project: 1994-1997" (JSWE, Spring/Summer 1999).

In this article, the authors describe the goal of the Doctoral Faculty Decade Publication Project to be "to identify, track, and describe the publication of social work doctoral faculties in peer-reviewed professional journals during the decade of the 1990s" (p. 196). However, an examination of the authors' research methodology begs the question of whether they have achieved this goal. In the conduct of the second wave (or "middle years"), the authors chose not to expand the sample to include either doctoral programs omitted from the initial sampling frame (1990-1993) or programs which have come into existence since the research was begun. Given the study includes only 45 of the 57 doctoral programs listed in the most recent Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education directory, it appears to omit over 20 percent of current programs.

This methodological limitation--the exclusion of over one fifth of the current doctoral programs--raises a significant substantive concern. Does this research accurately inform us about the current productivity of doctoral faculties or does it simply present a reevaluation/ranking of a subset of doctoral programs from the first wave? For example, Boston University faculty (omitted from the study) published over 90 articles in social work, interdisciplinary, and allied professional journals during the 1994-97 period. We might hypothesize that the inclusion of the omitted schools may well have changed the school's productivity rankings presented by the authors in their Table 1.

At the very least, since busy readers might just refer to Table 1, any misperceptions created about faculty productivity at the omitted schools is continuously repeated.

Wilma Peebles-Wilkins, Dean And the Tenured Faculty Boston University

Robert G. Green responds:

We also regret that we were not able to include the contributions of Boston University's faculty in the initial (Green, Baskind, & Conklin, 1995) or the interim reports of the Doctoral Faculty Decade Publication Project. Although we were able to obtain and verify a list of the complete names of all full-time faculty from 45 of the 47 schools with active doctoral programs early in the decade of the 1990s, we were unsuccessful in the specific case of Boston University.

The Project's original objectives and funding were specifically targeted to tracking and describing the publication productivity of the original 45 faculties over the course of a 10-year period (1990-99). However, because accurate SSCI publication searches for schools and departments of colleges and universities no longer require individual searches for each faculty member at each institution, the forthcoming and final report of the Decade Publication Project includes the 1990-99 publications of all 61 social work faculties with doctoral programs on December 31, 1999.


Green, R. G., Baskind, F. R., & Conklin, B. (1995). The 1990s publication productivity of schools of social work with doctoral programs. Journal of Social Work Education, 31, 388-401.
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Publication:Journal of Social Work Education
Date:Mar 22, 2000
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