Entrepreneurship research in ireland

So with all the government fuss about the innovation island and the innovation economy, with all the (lip service?) paid to empowering entrepeneursip and with the push to make Irish universities into powerhouses of entrepreneurial enablement, nobody seems to have looked at the question : are we doing any research in the area.

A caveat : of course research publications are not in and of themselves sufficient for the fostering of an area. But  they are, I contend, necessary. If we didn’t have engineers, somewhere, in the country researching in and publishing on nano tech or bio tech or whatever tech is the fancy de jure of the Department of Hoping to Stumble on a new Google, we would not have companies in these areas. So also with any other area. A vibrant ecosystem of academic, applied and basic research is a prerequisite for a healthy growth.

So then onto looking into entrepreneurship and related. I looked at all papers published in the areas of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and   Small Business Management. The journals selected were those identified in the Academy of Business Schools. They are below, with their “ranks” – 4 is world class, 3 pretty good, 2 good and 1 ok. There are of course a myriad of other journals and the ABS is but one ranking. That said, it’s a generally accepted qualitative ranking of over 800 journals in 20 areas of business school activities.

Journal ABS Rank
Creativity and Innovation Management 1
Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 3
Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice 4
European Journal of Innovation Management 1
Family Business Review 2
Industry and Innovation 2
International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal 1
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research 2
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management (IJEIM) 1
International Journal of Innovation Management 2
International Small Business Journal 3
Journal of Business Venturing 4
Journal of Enterprising Culture 1
Journal of Entrepreneurship 1
Journal of International Entrepreneurship 1
Journal of Product Innovation Management 4
Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 2
Journal of Small Business Management 3
Journal of Techology Transfer 1
R and D Management 3
Small Business Economics 3
Social Enterprise 1
Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal 3
Technovation 3
Venture Capital: An International Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance 2
World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development 1

From Scopus I extracted over 8000 records – journal articles published in these journals from 2001 to 2012 inclusive. After cleaning up and a whack of macros in excel, I extracted records for the nationality of over 16000 authors. Many papers had one author, some had 10…. Bear in mind that Scopus, while excellent, is not 100% comprehensive and the more so as one goes back in time. Nonetheless it is the most comprehensive and accurate database that is available. So, take the data below with some salt, and I am happy to share the (very large) raw files with anyone who can build and improve on this. And, this is a blogpost not a peer reviewed article… 

Not surprisingly the USA leads the field in research. But, we don’t do too badly.  The first column of data are the number of authors published, the second these weighted by the ABS journal weight. The Average column is the ratio of these and represents a crude estimate of average paper quality;  in terms of authors we rank 22nd, in terms of average 26th. Not bad but the standout small countries in this list include Finland for numbers and Singapore for average quality.

Country Authors Weighted Average
USA 4303 13471  3.13
UK 2230 5989  2.69
Germany 996 2739  2.75
Netherlands 934 2687  2.88
Canada 902 2632  2.92
Spain 790 1984  2.51
Italy 632 1659  2.63
Sweden 604 1658  2.75
Australia 469 1155  2.46
Taiwan 421 1206  2.86
Finland 388 909  2.34
France 387 928  2.40
Belgium 327 964  2.95
Denmark 233 591  2.54
Japan 210 588  2.80
Switzerland 201 562  2.80
China 191 549  2.87
Norway 187 471  2.52
NZ 175 380  2.17
Korea 166 462  2.78
Austria 148 390  2.64
Ireland 144 365  2.53
Greece 129 313  2.43
Portugal 112 262  2.34
Singapore 93 303  3.26
India 88 200  2.27
Turkey 80 236  2.95
Israel 75 211  2.81
Kong 66 196  2.97
Brazil 62 159  2.56
SA 59 149  2.53
Slovenia 53 125  2.36
Chile 45 114  2.53
Malaysia 39 80  2.05
Nigeria 36 108  3.00
Mexico 34 74  2.18
Croatia 31 61  1.97
Thailand 27 72  2.67
Luxembourg 25 65  2.60
Liechtenstein 22 41  1.86
Estonia 22 44  2.00
Cyprus 22 47  2.14
Poland 22 47  2.14
Hungary 18 54  3.00
Fiji 13 17  1.31
Lebanon 13 33  2.54
Latvia 10 23  2.30

Where are we publishing? There’s a spread. We author a lot in the areas of small business and technology related ; not so much in r and d and the behavioral type journals.

Journal Irish Authors
Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 23
Small Business Economics 16
Technovation 16
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management 12
Journal of Technology Transfer 10
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business 9
Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 8
Journal of Product Innovation Management 8
International Small Business Journal 7
Venture Capital 6
International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal 5
Journal of Small Business Management 5
R and D Management 5
European Journal of Innovation Management 4
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research 4
Industry and Innovation 3
Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice 2
Journal of Business Venturing 1

And where does this come from? In total there were 95 journal articles that had one or more Irish affiliated authors. The institutional affiliation is below, again with an ABS weighting and an average. For what its worth, I have some papers in the set, papers in Small Business Economics.

Irish Institution Authors ABS Weighted Average
UCD 34 92  2.71
UL 30 76  2.53
DCU 18 41  2.28
NUIG 14 39  2.79
UCC 8 16  2.00
TCD 6 14  2.33
UU 6 13  2.17
DIT 5 15  3.00
DKIT 3 8  2.67
TIPP 3 6  2.00
WIT 3 6  2.00
ABBOT 2 6  3.00
ERINI 2 6  3.00
QUB 2 7  3.50
SKYTECH 2 6  3.00
CIT 1 3  3.00
DLIATD 1 3  3.00
IRC 1 3  3.00
ITT 1 3  3.00
MAYO 1 1  1.00
NUIM 1 3  3.00

One thing stands out very clearly – UL is producing significant work in this area and at a good standard. Another is that the Institutes of Technology are not. Again the caveat – a publication in an entrepreneurial or innovation journal is not proof of entrepreneurial activity or engagement. Not is lack of same evidence of lack of such. But we would, if we wished to see a thriving innovation economy and a fostering of entrepreneurship in Irish higher education graduates, want to see evidence of academic involvement all along the way – from the very applied to the very academic. Right now that is not evidently the case.

Nor can we turn academics with interests in areas other than entrepreneurship and innovation into people capable of mentoring students and publishing work of the highest world standard. Much more involvement of clinical (but with research expectations) and adjunct staff in the area is going to be needed, along with significant investment in the human capital of business and other schools. Finally, we have some centers of activity – UCD (not surprising given its size and scope), and UL. We should build on these platforms, determine the strengths of the other schools and let them build on those. One size does not fit all and neither can every school be good at everything.

10 thoughts on “Entrepreneurship research in ireland

  1. Pingback: Ninth Level Ireland » Blog Archive » Entrepreneurship research in Ireland

  2. Brian Mulligan

    Is there evidence of a correlation between entrepreneurial research and activity. How about a slightly related example? Is there a correlation between e-learning research and e-learning activity in higher education? There are about 5 masters level courses on ICT in Education in Ireland. Not one is online. It is even plausible that there is a negative correlation as research activity and the need for publication may conflict with the need to get stuff done. Would you put an active research engineer in charge of a manufacturing facility?

    1. Kevin Kelly

      Actually Brian, in many (maybe even most) world class manufacturing facilities those in charge are actively engaged in research.
      That said, I think you have a point with regard to entrepreneurship and innovation. We all love the idea of eco-systems, but if we’re talking about innovation and entrepreneurship, then surely we’re talking about people designing and making new products and services? Are business schools the most likely place to find such activity?

      1. brianmlucey Post author

        The data here Kevin are not for business schools. They are for all elements of the university. So it doesn’t matter ifim in engineering or business…if I publish in say Technovation I’m captured here.

      2. Kevin Kelly

        Too many Brians! My comments were directed at Brian Mulligan. I take your (Brian L) point about where the authors reside – but I’d suggest that the majority of the authors in those journals would be based in business schools, and indeed the list itself is from the Academy of Business Schools. In any case I think the point Brian M was making (with which I’d agree) would be that the ACTIVITY of innovation and entrepreneurship is probably not best captured in academic journals

  3. DrMCashin

    Good Morning Gentlemen,
    Interesting comments which I might gel together under the concept of Academic Practitioners….yes quite a lot of stuff is written which tends to be a snapshot from a particular perspective and indeed no one size fits all. I, myself, haven’t published, partly because of not having time and perhaps more importantly I’m too busy doing!! One of my many hats is that of Director of an Entrepreneurship Academy focussing on 3rd year students, initially to develop/build ‘something’ which might, quite conceiveably, lead to their economic self-sustainability, if one eventually heads up his/her own multi-national, well and good, but for the moment if I can get students and/or others to get the bit between their teeth and build a small company then I’ll be moderately happy. I have been approached by a colleague who wishes to do a Professional Doctorate in this area which, if he embarks on his journey, it might reveal some interesting issues/perspectives on the ‘process’ of commercial entrepreneurship, its the process of doing which underpins valuable learning/knowledge…. Though I’m an academic (in a Business School), I do have 25 years of solid, coalface action behind me and continue, albeit on a part-time, extra-curricular activity basis, to work with startups and SMEs etc, which provides me with valuable experiences which are often brought into lectures and which do not appear in books/journals etc… Professor Lucey, I would like to ask for a copy of your data to test some hypothesises around practitioner researchers etc. if thats possible.
    Kindest Regards

  4. tena.patten@lyit.ie

    Hi Brian – was delighted to come upon this posting as it gives a good background to work from. Am currently embarking on research in the entrepreneurship area and wonder if you could send me details on the 144 Irish authors and the articles they have published. As an ex-student of yours (MBA 92/93) I enjoy your appearances and postings on various platforms. Many thanks in advance,
    Tena Patten
    Letterkenny IoT


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