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Don't Get Skewed Over by Journal Rankings

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  • Wall Howard J

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Wall Howard J, 2009. "Don't Get Skewed Over by Journal Rankings," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-12, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:34
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sandra Rousseau & Tom Verbeke & Ronald Rousseau, 2009. "Evaluating Environmental and Resource Economics Journals: A TOP-Curve Approach," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(2), pages 270-287, Summer.
    2. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Klaus Wohlrabe, 2016. "Taking the Temperature: A Meta-Ranking of Economics Journals," CESifo Working Paper Series 5726, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Seiler, Christian & Wohlrabe, Klaus, 2014. "How robust are journal rankings based on the impact factor? Evidence from the economic sciences," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 904-911.
    3. repec:eee:infome:v:11:y:2017:i:3:p:689-703 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Bräuninger, Michael & Haucap, Justus & Muck, Johannes, 2011. "Was lesen und schätzen Ökonomen im Jahr 2011?," DICE Ordnungspolitische Perspektiven 18, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    5. David L. Anderson & John Tressler, 2010. "The Merits of Using Citation-Based Journal Weighting Schemes to Measure Research Performance in Economics: The Case of New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 10/03, University of Waikato.
    6. John Tressler & David L. Anderson, 2012. "Citations as a Measure of the Research Outputs of New Zealand's Economics Departments: The Problem of 'Long and Variable Lags'," Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics, vol. 19(1), pages 17-40.
    7. Justus Haucap & Johannes Muck, 2015. "What drives the relevance and reputation of economics journals? An update from a survey among economists," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 103(3), pages 849-877, June.
    8. Hofmeister Robert & Krapf Matthias, 2011. "How Do Editors Select Papers, and How Good are They at Doing It?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-23, October.
    9. Lutz Bornmann & Alexander Butz & Klaus Wohlrabe, 2018. "What are the top five journals in economics? A new meta-ranking," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(6), pages 659-675, February.
    10. David L. Anderson & John Tressler, 2011. "The Merits of Using Citations to Measure Research Output in Economics Departments: The New Zealand Case," Working Papers in Economics 11/11, University of Waikato.

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