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Journal rankings in economics: handle with care

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  • Howard J. Wall

Abstract

Nearly all journal rankings in economics use some weighted average of citations to calculate a journal's impact. These rankings are often used, formally or informally, to help assess the publication success of individual economists or institutions. Although ranking methods and opinions are legion, scant attention has been paid to the usefulness of any ranking as representative of the many articles published in a journal. First, because the distributions of citations across articles within a journal are seriously skewed, and the skewness differs across journals, the appropriate measure of central tendency is the median rather than the mean. Second, large shares of articles in the highest-ranked journals are cited less frequently than typical articles in much-lower-ranked journals. Finally, a ranking that uses the h-index is very similar to one that uses total citations, making it less than ideal for assessing the typical impact of articles within a journal.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2009-014.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2009-014

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Keywords: Economics;

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References

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  1. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2001. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions in Economics," Discussion Papers in Economics 01/8, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  2. Liebowitz, S J & Palmer, J P, 1984. "Assessing the Relative Impacts of Economic Journals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 77-88, March.
  3. Kristie M. Engemann & Howard J. Wall, 2009. "A journal ranking for the ambitious economist," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 127-140.
  4. Oswald, Andrew J., 2006. "An Examination of the Reliability of Prestigious Scholarly Journals: Evidence and Implications for Decision-makers," IZA Discussion Papers 2070, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Yolanda K. Kodrzycki & Pingkang David Yu, 2005. "New approaches to ranking economics journals," Working Papers 05-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  6. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, 2004. "The Measurement of Intellectual Influence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 963-977, 05.
  7. Richard Dusansky & Clayton J. Vernon, 1998. "Rankings of U.S. Economics Departments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 157-170, Winter.
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RePEc Biblio mentions

As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
  1. > Economics Profession > Ranking in Economics > Ranking Journals
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Cited by:
  1. Miguel sarmiento, 2009. "Central Bank Economic Research: Output, Demand, Productivity, and Relevance," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 005935, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
  2. Winkler, Anne E. & Levin, Sharon & Stephan, Paula & Glänzel, Wolfgang, 2011. "Publishing Trends in Economics across Colleges and Universities, 1991-2007," IZA Discussion Papers 6082, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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  1. Rankings of Economists, Economics Departments and Economics Journals

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