Study: Bar-Ilan Leads in Academic Publications

Bar-Ilan University ranks first among Israeli universities in the number of academic works published by its faculty, according to the results of a questionnaire circulated by the Council for Higher Education and released yesterday.

According to the first-of-its-kind survey, Bar-Ilan faculty produced 23 percent of all published academic works in 2004 and 2005, followed by Tel Aviv University with 22 percent and the University of Haifa with 18 percent.

The questionnaires were sent to the faculties of all Israeli research universities, and about 1,000 faculty members - some 20 percent of all senior lecturers - responded. They reported a total of 3,166 publications, including books, articles, conference papers and textbooks.

Hebrew University placed fourth in the rankings, with 16 percent of the total, followed by the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (9 percent), Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (6 percent) and the Weizmann Institute and the Open University (3 percent each).

However, the response rate varied widely among universities: It reached 40 percent at the University of Haifa, for example, but was only 15 percent at Hebrew University.

The Council for Higher Education now intends to analyze the data to take quality into account, as measured by which journals or academic presses published the works.

A source at Tel Aviv University said the initial data "point to trends, and are therefore important."

The survey was conducted in response to criticism by humanities and social science lecturers of the universities' standard funding formula, which is based on two components: teaching and research. Academics in the humanities claimed to be unfairly treated because the "research" component did not include book publication. Publication of books is more widespread in the humanities and social sciences, and therefore its exclusion resulted in substantially lower funding levels for these fields.