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

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    ()

    (University of Warwick)

In universities all over the world, hiring and promotion committees regularly hear the argument: “this is important work because it is about to appear in prestigious journal X”. Moreover, those who allocate levels of research funding, such as in the multi-billion pound Research Assessment Exercise in UK universities, often come under pressure to assess research quality in a mechanical way by using journal prestige ratings. The results in this paper suggest that such tendencies are dangerous. It uses total citations over a quarter of a century as the criterion. The paper finds that it is far better to publish the best article in an issue of a medium-quality journal like the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics than to publish the worst article (or often the worst 4 articles) in an issue of a top journal like the American Economic Review. Implications are discussed.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2070.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economica, 2007, 74 (293), 21-31
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2070
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  1. 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 352-66, April.
  2. Laband, David N, 1990. "Is There Value-Added from the Review Process in Economics? Preliminary Evidence from Authors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 341-52, May.
  3. 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.
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