The Economics Program’s Statement on Scholarship (January 2022)
Forms of Scholarship
The traditional form of economic research, publication of peer reviewed articles in economics or interdisciplinary journals, is the highest form of scholarly activity. However, there are many other forms of scholarship that are valuable and should be recognized as such at the various stages of faculty review. We see these other forms of scholarship as falling into three broad categories.
Original economic research
· Books or book chapters.
· Presentation of a paper or poster at a professional conference. These presentations carry even greater value when the faculty member also organizes a special session in which the paper is presented.
· White papers. Reports conveying economic research prepared for governmental, not-for-profit, or for-profit organizations are not typically peer reviewed, but they demand a high level of clarity and rigor comparable to traditional academic work.
· Grant proposals.
· Working papers and articles submitted but not published. This work does not carry the same guarantees of quality that peer reviewed work or white papers are likely to have, so candidates should consider having letter writers provide context for this form of research.
· Community lectures or forums where the faculty member is presenting their original research for the general public.
Service to the profession
· Reviewing articles for publication.
· Reviewing submissions to professional conferences.
· Reviewing books and textbooks.
Research as an extension of the classroom
· Collaborative research with students.
· Supervising student research.
· Economics-related articles appearing in popular publications.
· Community lectures or forums where the faculty member is presenting or discussing general topics in economics.
Forms of peer review
The following are considered valid forms of peer review in the economics discipline:
1) Review by fellow economists.
2) Invited publications or presentations by economists.
3) Review by professional or academic non-economists.
Each form of economic research described in the first section could be subject to any one of these forms of peer review. For example, peer review by economists is not limited to journal articles. Books, presentations, grant proposals, and other types of research are also commonly subject to peer review. While all three kinds of peer review are valuable, review by disciplinary peers is the most respected form.
At each stage of review we have defined a minimum standard. We understand the resistance to establishing quantitative minimums, but we believe there is value in setting clear expectations for colleagues undergoing review and minimizing ambiguity for those reviewing them. We also recognize that our colleagues under review may exceed this minimum standard, so we have also described scholarship when we are at our best so that candidates know what to aspire to and reviewers have a benchmark against which to evaluate excellence.
Third year review
A colleague at third-year review must have a well-articulated scholarship plan and some evidence of progress consistent with that plan. Evidence of progress might include published articles, articles under review, presentation of papers or posters at conferences, or working papers.
At their best, a candidate for third-year will have published articles in quality journals and have a pipeline of work in various stages of progress that is consistent with the candidate’s long-term research agenda.
A candidate for tenure must have two peer-reviewed products of their research while affiliated with Luther, at least one of which is a peer reviewed publication in an economics or interdisciplinary journal. The candidate shall also describe a sustainable plan for continued scholarship.
At their best, a candidate for tenure will produce a quantity of peer reviewed research that exceeds the minimum standard. A candidate will strive for publication in more highly ranked journals since this tends to be correlated with more rigorous peer review (which incentivizes higher quality scholarship) and carries a stronger reputational effect in the profession. Candidates could demonstrate a growing ability to use their expertise to extend the classroom, and they will increasingly serve professional organizations and the larger community.
Promotion to full professor
A candidate for promotion to full professor must show continued growth as a scholar. This will be evidenced by two products of peer reviewed work since tenure, at least one of which is a peer reviewed publication in an economics or interdisciplinary journal.
At their best, a candidate for full professor will demonstrate a greater amount of scholarship after tenure than before it. The candidate will have a growing reputation in their field. The candidate will also regularly contribute their expertise to the profession and the community.
Scholarship, teaching, and the liberal arts
We recognize that our scholarship can bear fruit in the classroom. The various ways we can use our research as “an extension of the classroom” are clear examples, but there are many other ways that our research can benefit students. Continued engagement with our discipline gives us the knowledge necessary to be excellent teachers and helps us maintain a passion for our subject that we can carry back to the classroom. Sharing our research experiences, including our frustrations and small victories, can encourage students struggling to learn research methods. Ongoing discussion of our research will also enhance the intellectual life of our program and the college and may someday inspire a student to conduct their own original research.
We also believe economics has an important place in the liberal arts. Economics has much to say about the environment, law, politics, social justice, and more. Our work overlaps with that of psychologists, mathematicians, philosophers, biologists, and others. Big questions about the common good often demand an economic perspective. For these reasons, we value interdisciplinary research and count the sharing of economic research in interdisciplinary journals and interdisciplinary conferences as a valuable form of scholarship.