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An Examination of the Reliability of Prestigious Scholarly Journals: Evidence and Implications for Decision-Makers




Scientific-funding bodies are increasingly under pressure to use journal rankings to measure research quality. Hiring and promotion committees routinely hear an equivalent argument: 'this is important work because it is to be published in prestigious journal X'. But how persuasive is such an argument? This paper examines data on citations to articles published 25 years ago. It finds that it is better to write the best article published in an issue of a medium-quality journal such as the "OBES" than all four of the worst four articles published in an issue of an elite journal like the "AER". Decision-makers need to understand this. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2006.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew J. Oswald, 2007. "An Examination of the Reliability of Prestigious Scholarly Journals: Evidence and Implications for Decision-Makers," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(293), pages 21-31, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:74:y:2007:i:293:p:21-31

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jerry G. Thursby, 2000. "What Do We Say about Ourselves and What Does It Mean? Yet Another Look at Economics Department Research," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 383-404, June.
    2. David N. Laband, 1990. "Is There Value-Added from the Review Process in Economics?: Preliminary Evidence from Authors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 341-352.
    3. Moore, William J & Newman, Robert J & Turnbull, Geoffrey K, 1998. "Do Academic Salaries Decline with Seniority?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 352-366, April.
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    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights


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