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.
|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|
|Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal||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.
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 of Small Business and Enterprise Development||23|
|Small Business Economics||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|
|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|
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.