There have been a number of high quality economics journals launched in the last decade, including the AEJ series and those published by the Econometric Society. Most existing rankings of journals are not updated to include these. I would like to generate discussion on what is an appropriate ranking of economics journals taking into account these new journals.
A simple approach to measuring impact is to measure citations in top 5 journals. The top 5 general journals (AER, ECMA, JPE, QJE and REStud) are almost universally recognized as the top 5 journals in economics, and clearly above the next set of journals. Citations in these journals are roughly of equal quality. These journals, collectively, also cover all areas of economics.
A similar approach to measuring impact was used in the article "A Journal Ranking for the Ambitious Economist" by Kristie M. Engemann and Howard J. Wall. They used an earlier period that did not include the new journals, and focused on citations in a list of 7 top general journals of a smaller set of journals.
The table below shows the results of an exercise we did in the Department of Economics at the National University of Singapore based on recent periods that allow us to measure the relative impact of the new journals, as well as based on a longer period in which the new journals cannot be compared. To get the impact factor of a journal X published in year t and cited in year k, we got an RA to measure the total number of citations in top 5 articles in year k of articles published in journal X in year t, and divide by the number of articles published in journal X in year t.
To get an impact factor over a range of years, say 2010-2015, we apply the same methodology, so aggregate citations in top 5 journals for years in that window of all articles published in a particular journal in the years in that window, divided by the total number of articles published in that journal in the years in that window.
Note we remove any citations in AER Papers and Proceedings, but otherwise all citations in top 5 journals are treated equally. We do not rank JEL or JEP. We scale impact factors so AER has an impact factor of 1.
The results are given below for the longest period we have data on 2003-2015.
Here are the results for the longest period in which we can include all the new AEA and ES journals, which is 2010-2015.
|1||Quarterly Journal of Economics||251||445||1.773||1.470|
|3||Journal of Political Economy||181||222||1.227||1.017|
|4||American Economic Review||694||837||1.206||1.000|
|5||Review of Economic Studies||304||332||1.092||0.906|
|6||AEJ: Macro (2009)||193||127||0.658||0.546|
|7||AEJ: Applied Economics (2009)||229||150||0.655||0.543|
|8||Theoretical Economics (2006)||138||67||0.486||0.403|
|10||AEJ: Economic Policy (2009)||229||90||0.393||0.326|
|11||Quantitative Economics (2010)||98||37||0.378||0.313|
|12||AEJ: Micro (2009)||226||82||0.363||0.301|
|13||Review of Economic Dynamics||249||80||0.321||0.266|
|14||Journal of Labor Economics||158||44||0.278||0.231|
|15||Journal of Finance||402||111||0.276||0.229|
|16||Journal of Economic Theory||714||193||0.270||0.224|
|17||Journal of Economic Growth (1999)||73||19||0.260||0.216|
|18||Review of Economics and Statistics||527||137||0.260||0.216|
|19||Rand Journal of Economics||201||52||0.259||0.215|
|20||Journal of Monetary Economics||358||91||0.254||0.211|
|21||International Economic Review||299||69||0.231||0.191|
|22||Journal of International Economics||463||96||0.207||0.172|
|23||American Economic Review May Issue||647||122||0.189||0.156|
|24||Journal of Business & Economic Statistics||247||46||0.186||0.154|
|26||Review of Financial Studies||584||108||0.185||0.153|
|27||Journal of Econometrics||865||128||0.148||0.123|
|28||Games and Economic Behavior||761||111||0.146||0.121|
|29||Journal of Financial Economics||733||106||0.145||0.120|
|31||Journal of Public Economics||642||84||0.131||0.108|
|32||Experimental Economics (2003)||195||25||0.128||0.106|
|33||Journal of Industrial Economics||172||19||0.110||0.092|
|34||Journal of Human Resources||198||21||0.106||0.088|
|35||Journal of Development Economics||523||52||0.099||0.082|
|37||Journal of Risk and Uncertainty||143||12||0.084||0.070|
|38||International Journal of Industrial Org||362||25||0.069||0.057|
|39||Journal of Economic History||191||11||0.058||0.048|
|40||Journal of Urban Economics||275||15||0.055||0.045|
|41||Journal of Money, Credit and Banking||514||27||0.053||0.044|
|42||Journal of Applied Econometrics||310||16||0.052||0.043|
|43||Journal of Law & Economics||186||9||0.048||0.040|
|44||Journal of Economics & Management Strategy||228||11||0.048||0.040|
|45||Scandinavian Journal of Economics||259||11||0.042||0.035|
|46||European Economic Review||544||23||0.042||0.035|
|50||Journal of Health Economics||520||18||0.035||0.029|
|51||Journal of Environmental Economics and Management||318||11||0.035||0.029|
|52||National Tax Journal||206||7||0.034||0.028|
|53||Journal of Law, Economics & Organization||180||6||0.033||0.028|
|54||Journal of Mathematical Economics||495||15||0.030||0.025|
|55||Explorations in Economic History||176||5||0.028||0.024|
|56||Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization||1125||30||0.027||0.022|
|57||Journal of Population Economics||315||8||0.025||0.021|
|58||Journal of Comparative Economics||304||7||0.023||0.019|
|59||Social Choice and Welfare||484||9||0.019||0.015|
|60||Macroeconomic Dynamics (1998)||378||7||0.019||0.015|
|62||Journal of Economic Dynamics & Control||873||14||0.016||0.013|
|63||Journal of Economic Geography||256||4||0.016||0.013|
|66||Canadian Journal of Economics||333||3||0.009||0.007|
|67||American Journal of Agricultural Economics||498||3||0.006||0.005|
|68||Oxford Economic Papers-New Series||249||1||0.004||0.003|
|69||Journal of Banking & Finance||1578||6||0.004||0.003|
|71||Regional Science and Urban Economics||399||1||0.003||0.002|
|73||Journal of Accounting & Economics||215||0||0.000||0.000|
The new journals come up very strongly. Some traditionally top field journals fall down considerably. To what extent is this citation data picking up real changes in journal quality and impact, and to what extent are the changes driven by some bias that comes from the approach used or that applies when citations are measured for new journals?
I welcome suggestions of alternative rankings that incorporate the new journals or comments on the plausibility of these results. Perhaps you can submit your own ranking (not necessarily of all the journals here). Please clearly identify yourself or your comments will be deleted. I want to encourage a high level discussion on journal ranking methods and results among colleagues in the economics profession. Hopefully, this will lead to a better understanding of how to appropriately rank the new journals along side existing journals.