In this article we investigated whether academic departments do experience a trade-off among different research outputs. More specifically, we define four types of academic research outputs: quantity (publications); quality (citation indexes); research funds obtained through research grants; and applied research funds obtained through external orders. Subsequently, we define a department's performance through the concept of efficiency, namely the ability to maximize academic research output given an amount of inputs (facilities and human resources). Using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), we measure efficiency for 69 academic departments (focused on scientific subjects) located in the Lombardy Region (Italy), benefiting from a unique data set containing detailed information on research inputs and outputs. The empirical analysis shows that efficiency rankings change significantly when considering different research-related outputs and thus it highlights different research strategies among the academic departments. These different strategies emerge also considering jointly all four types of outputs: the academic departments focus on different outputs in order to obtain the highest overall efficiency scores. In the last section, policy and managerial implications have been discussed. Copyright The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com, Oxford University Press.