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Methods in Action: “Dealing with heteroscedasticity and other issues in regressions about scaling”

Jan 31, 2022 @ 9:00 am - Feb 7, 2022 @ 12:30 am

The “Methods in Action Series” course “Dealing with heteroscedasticity and other issues in regressions about scaling” is organized by USI – Università della Svizzera Italiana and will take place on online platform on 31 January, 3 February and 7 February 2022.




Topic and objective

The course will deal with a set of common problems in regression analysis of data on science production, specifically at the organizational level, which generate methodological issues when applying OLS regressions. Most of them are generated by extremely large variations in the size of the considered organizations, such as universities, which translate into a series of known statistical problems, including:

o Non-linearity, i.e. regression coefficients depend on the size of the considered organization;
o Heteroscedasticity, i.e. the variance of the depend on the organizational size;
o The presence of outliers, such as very small organizations, as well as of leverage points, for example very large organizations in the sample;
o Non-normality of the residuals.

The course will illustrate these problems based on a recent paper on scaling of publication output over university budgets for US and European universities (Lepori, Geuna and Mira 2019), where the hypothesis of non-linear scaling is tested empirically (Leitao, Miotto, Gerlach and Altmann 2016). Statistical problems will be identified and strategies for addressing them will be presented, such as the use of Feasible Generalized Least Squares (FGLS; Hansen 2007).

In the practical part of the course, participants will be asked to test the proposed approaches on the original dataset and to discuss advantages and disadvantages; thy might also propose and test alternative approaches.


Course programme

Monday 31th of January 2022
09:00 – 09:15 Introduction to the Course
09:15 – 10:15 Lecture: issues in regression analysis and methods to deal with them.
10:30 – 11:30 Stata tutorial on how to implement regression methods.
11.30 – 12.15 Creation of the groups and task assignment.

Thursday 3rd of February 2022
16.00 – 18.00 interim discussion with groups in breakout rooms.

Monday 7th of February 2022
09:00 – 11.00 Group presentations.
11.15 – 12.00 Lecture: how to motivate robustness to reviewers.
12.00 – 12.30 Final discussion and assessment of the use of methods.



Prof. Benedetto Lepori is currently titular professor at the Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society and rector delegate per research analysis at Università della Svizzera italiana. His research interest include: Governance and organizational structures of higher education institutions, Institutional theory, particularly institutional logics approaches and hybrid organizations, Development of data infrastructure for S&T studies, Diversity and characterization of higher education systems, Comparative analysis of national research policies and funding systems, Indicators to characterize research funding systems and higher education institutions.


Reference paper for the course:

Lepori, B., Geuna, A. & Mira, A. (2019). Scientific output scales with resources. A comparison of US and European universities. PloS One, 14(10).



Target audience:

o Senior scientist, early career researchers
o PhD students at the last phase of their training
o People from the policy making level wishing to extend their analytical capabilities
o Research intermediaries (e.g. research association like Science Europe).


Course prerequisites:

Basic requisite for admission will be:
o Knowledge of basic principle of statistics, as well as of Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression.
o Good working knowledge of statistical software (Stata).


Cost and Fees:

No registration fees to be paid by European Participants.



Send the organizer (see contact person below) the application form by email, including a CV and a short statement of interest.

Maximum number of participants: 16.


Deadline for request of participation:

20 December 2021.


Contact person:

Natalija Todorovic (natalija.todorovic@usi.ch)


Jan 31, 2022 @ 9:00 am
Feb 7, 2022 @ 12:30 am
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USI – Università della Svizzera Italiana