Academic ranks: Toward a research and publication culture


AT the end of the school year through summer, besides preparing final marks, academics give time to compiling evidences of their growth and development for purposes of academic ranking. The most common labels of academic ranks in higher education are instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, full professor and university professor.

In many campuses, “professor” is most often used to refer to or address an academic especially one with no doctorate degree. Otherwise, if the academic has a doctorate degree, he/she would be addressed as “doctor.” With globalization in our midst, it is much more likely that there would be visiting professors from cross border HEI’s spending their sabbatical leave in Philippine HEI’s. The commonly used title of “professor” to address non-doctorates could mislead visiting academics to thinking that Philippine HEI’s are not wanting of academics with doctorates since everyone has achieved “professorship” – a much coveted level of academic ranking.

CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 40, s. 2008 requires academics to have at least a masters degree and “to be fully implemented by AY 2011-2012.” Since then, there are HEI’s which award tenure (or permanent status) at the assistant professor level. Why, because at this rank and higher, a graduate degree requires the conduct of a research for the thesis requirement, thus initiating the academic to the scholarly world. Other HEI’s go further by requiring not merely a master’s degree but a publication in a peer-reviewed journal. In introducing amendments to the 2009 CHED Journal Accreditation Service (JAS), CHED Memorandum No 13 s. 2012 states that publication of research outputs of academics “in refereed journals has become a universal requirement for tenure in higher education institutions.”

Peer review or refereeing is an editorial process which allows experts in the same field of research to evaluate and comment on the manuscripts submitted to a journal for publication. Peer reviewers make sure the author has made valid arguments as attested by footnotes, end notes and the experts whose manuscripts are listed in the bibliography. Peer review can be open or blind. It could be single or double.

Single-blind review is when the reviewer’s name is not disclosed to the author. In double-blind review, the identity of the reviewers and the authors are not disclosed to one another.
Peer-reviewed journals are written by scholars or professionals who are experts in their fields in the sciences or social sciences, language and culture. Thus, a journal in the social sciences will have an editorial board of experts in sociology, and in germane areas and one for science would have editors expert in the life or physical sciences.

Several databases of high repute provide facilitative services to scholars. The Web of Science which lists scholarly journals is maintained by Thomson Reuters in addition to The Institute for Scientific Information or ISI acquired by Thomson Reuters also known as Thomson ISI. Articles in these data bases follow international editorial conventions — such as providing informative titles for the research study, the author’s abstract after which are indicated the key words, a complete list of references or bibliography (using the APA citation style except in Language research which uses MLA), and a brief information and email address of each author. Further concerns may be found in this hyperlink:

“ISI Highly Cited” is a database of “highly cited researchers;” their publications are most often cited in academic journals over the past decade, published by the ISI. Our source says that “inclusion in this list is taken as a measure of the esteem of these academics and is used, for example, by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.” Still another huge data base of abstracts of peer-reviewed studies and other research literature is SCOPUS described as “another respectable index considering papers (articles and conference proceedings) from all scientific areas.”

Besides facilitating search for related studies and literature, these databases deepen scientific investigations. Hence these add scholarly substance and rigor to on-going arguments within disciplines.

Even as academics are charged to have research outputs besides the time allocated for teaching and for civic engagement/service-learning duties, students too are required to experience conducting research. A thesis is a required capstone for graduation. Furthermore, there are HEI’s that require students to submit their manuscripts for publication usually in their school’s journal. The Commission on Higher Education instituted the Journal Accreditation System or JAS to raise the quality of graduate journals. At the same time, this accreditation of journals will result in more peer-reviewed journals, thus providing a wider local venue for academics to submit manuscripts for publication. Accredited journals may be A or B category. The criteria allot 40% to the qualifications of the editors/editorial board supported by their scholarly publications and national and international experience, 30% to the system of peer review. Double blind reviews are given more weight. The other criteria are the recruitment and qualifications of the reviewers /external referees. The type of refereeing system adopted and overall appearance, timeliness and regularity of the journal compose the remaining 30% to round up to 100%. All journals with ISI citations are automatically considered as belonging to Category A. Indeed there is concerted action in the academic system — students, faculty and institutions as a whole — to make scholarly research prominent in HEI’s.

Teresita Tanhueco-Tumapon, Ph.D., is one of the Philippines most accomplished educators and experts on institutional management in colleges and universities. Her studies have included not only education and pedagogy but also literature.


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