FW: [CHMINF-L] [UTKSIS-L] US News & World Report College Rankings (fwd)

Stephen J Bensman notsjb at LSU.EDU
Wed Mar 14 09:32:20 EDT 2007

The classic case of ranking fraud was the reports published annually about
10 years ago by one Jack Gourman, a political science professor at Cal
State Northridge.  Gourman knew all the academic hokum and how to fool the
pedantry.  He even published his rankings to the 5th decimal place, when
everybody knows that they are not even an accurate reflection of real rank
at one decimal place.  He was playful in his rankings, even placing Cal
State Northridge higher in political science than Yale University.  When a
reporter tried to find the address of the publisher, he found only an empty
lot.  Yet every library bought a copy of these rankings and had it in their
reference department.  Academic adminstators used these rankings in their
decision making, and the former chancellor of LSU used to report the
university's progress in these rankings like clockwork.  I tried to
disabuse of the chancellor of using these rankings, but it was like talking
to a brick wall, so desperate was he to have some sort of figures.  I even
suggested to one administrator that the best way to rise in these rankings
was to slip Gourman a few hundred dollars under the table every year--far
less than the cost of a good fullback--and LSU would really skyrocket to
the top in one decimal jumps.


Eugene Garfield <eugene.garfield at THOMSON.COM>@LISTSERV.UTK.EDU> on
03/13/2007 05:32:34 PM

Please respond to ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics

Sent by:    ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics

cc:     (bcc: Stephen J Bensman/notsjb/LSU)

Subject:    [SIGMETRICS] FW: [CHMINF-L] [UTKSIS-L] US News & World Report
       College Rankings (fwd)

This is from today's Washington Post:


This is a discomfiting example of a process that has always been open to

question. The author of the Op-Ed piece is the president of Sarah

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