Review Articles: Should We Care about Finance Faculty Opinion of Real Estate Journal Quality?

Article excerpt

Abstract

Real estate has evolved into a unique discipline, separate and distinct from its finance and economics-based origins. Our 2008 survey of U.S. academic members of the Financial Management Association reveals that only 8% of respondents claim a real estate expertise, 6.9% report six or more academic real estate publications in the prior ten years, and only a third have real estate faculty in their departments. These numbers are significantly lower than similar survey results of 15 years ago. Of the 204 AACSB tenure-track finance faculty respondents that likely influence the rank and tenure decisions of real estate faculty within their departments, only half claim to be familiar with the 1st tier real estate academic journals. As the real estate discipline continues to evolve, university administrators should be cognizant of the decreasing familiarity, reliability, and relevance of finance faculty perceptions of academic real estate journal quality.

This paper received a 2010 Manuscript Prize for the best research paper in Real Estate Education (sponsored by Dearborn Financial Publishing) presented at the ARES 26th Annual Meeting.

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Universities reward their real estate faculty for the quantity, quality, and influence of their journal publications through the granting of tenure, promotions, salary increases, release time, and research funding support. Thus, it is critically important for administrators to be able to fairly and efficiently assess faculty performance along these dimensions. Journal quality and influence have often been measured subjectively by surveying the opinion of peers (Webb and Albert, 1995; Diaz, Black, and Rabianski, 1996; Gibler and Ziobrowski, 2002; Oltheten, Theoharakis, and Travlos, 2005; Gibler, Chen, and Sah, 2007; Gibler, Sah, and Chen, 2008), department chairs (Borde, Cheney, and Madura, 1999; Coe and Weinstock, 1983), and college deans (Smith and Greenwade, 1987), as well as journals preferred by editorial board members for their own publications (Hardin, Beauchamp, Liano, and Hill, 2006). In addition, journal acceptance rates and article citation frequency studies (Clauretie and Daneshvary, 1993; Redman, Manakyan, and Tanner, 1999; Hardin, Beauchamp, Liano, and Hill, 2006; Hardin, Liano, and Chan, 2006, 2007; Harrison and Manning, 2008) have been used to obtain a more objective measure of a journal's influence and quality.

Fifteen years ago, when Webb and Albert (1995) surveyed U.S. finance academic members of the Financial Management Association (FMA) to assess their opinion of the real estate journals, they observed that "over 85% of the full-time tenured and tenure-track real estate faculty at U.S. colleges and universities are housed in college of business departments of finance." Five trends illustrate the significant changes since Webb and Albert's (1995) study:

1. The field of real estate has continued to evolve into a separate discipline with its own literature and journals (Redman, Manakyan, and Tanner, 1999; Hardin, Liano, and Chan, 2006, 2007);

2. Today, more real estate faculty work apart from finance academics (Gibler, Sah, and Chen, 2007);

3. Real estate journals have continued to evolve along both quality and quantity dimensions (e.g., sponsorship, target audiences, and journal content);

4. Journal editorial boards and review processes have been modified; and

5. College and departmental goals and policies have changed.

Nevertheless, Gibler, Sah, and Chen (2008) found that 30% of U.S. real estate academics still have degrees in finance, 32% primarily teach finance, and 52% work alongside finance colleagues (with many of these still working in a business school's "Department of Finance").

Even though the influence of the finance discipline and its journals on the real estate literature has declined substantially over the past two decades (Redman, Manakyan, and Tanner, 1999; Hardin, Liano, and Chan, 2006, 2007), many U. …