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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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  • Howard J. Wall, 2009. "Journal rankings in economics: handle with care," Working Papers 2009-014, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2009-014
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    1. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, 2004. "The Measurement of Intellectual Influence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 963-977, May.
    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.
    3. Pantelis Kalaitzidakis & Theofanis P. Mamuneas & Thanasis Stengos, 2003. "Rankings of Academic Journals and Institutions in Economics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(6), pages 1346-1366, December.
    4. 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.
    5. Yolanda Kodrzycki & Pingkang David Yu, 2005. "New approaches to ranking economics journals," Working Papers 05-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    6. 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.
    7. Kristie M. Engemann & Howard J. Wall, 2009. "A journal ranking for the ambitious economist," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 91(May), pages 127-140.
    8. Tibor Braun & Wolfgang Glänzel & András Schubert, 2006. "A Hirsch-type index for journals," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 69(1), pages 169-173, October.
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    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, 2010. "Central Bank Economic Research: Output, Demand, Productivity, and Relevance," Money Affairs, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, CEMLA, vol. 0(2), pages 211-240, July-Dece.
    2. repec:ner:leuven:urn:hdl:123456789/327130 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Anne E Winkler & Sharon G Levin & Paula E Stephan & Wolfgang Gl&aauml;nzel, 2014. "Publishing Trends in Economics across Colleges and Universities, 1991–2007," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 560-582, September.

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