Should Top Universities be Led by Top Researchers, and Are They?
If the best universities in the world who have the widest choice of candidates systematically appoint top researchers as their vice chancellors and presidents, is this one form of evidence that, on average, better researchers make better leaders? This paper addresses the first part of the question: are they currently appointing distinguished scholars? The study documents a positive correlation between the lifetime citations of a university s president and the position of that university in a world ranking.
The lifetime citations are counted by hand of the leaders of the top 100 universities identified by the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in their Academic Ranking of World Universities (2004). These numbers are then normalised by adjusting for the different citation conventions across academic disciplines. The results are not driven by outliers.