IPE Journals, 2020 (.csv)
This is a bit late this year, with both extended thesis supervision duties and the switch to preparing for online teaching delivery this coming year the main culprits. As with previous versions, the core data here are pulled from Scimago.
I’ve dropped Clarivate/Thomson-Reuters/JCR/whatever-they’re-called-now impact factors, as their closed nature makes it difficult to collect data across all relevant journals. They also correlate highly with the S3C scores that Scimago produces – unweighted citation counts per article at three years. I’ve also dropped the Google Scholar H5 metrics; these provide a useful data point when comparing specific journals, but tend to be somewhat similar to Scimago’s H index, and I don’t have a script or the interest to pull in the information for all the journals in what essentially is a tool I use (and update annually) for myself.
I’ve added quartile rankings into this sheet (my own reference workbook consists of several sheets), along with definitions for the abbreviations. These are pulled from Scopus by Scimago, and the majority of the journals in this list are in the top two quartiles in the constituent categories for economics, political science, and business.
I’ve also dropped a couple of small journals (averaging less than twenty articles per year), as they’d be unlikely publication targets when considered against alternatives; some have been kept due to their extremely high quality and influence (QJPS, RIO, and World Politics come to mind). There are a few journals that will probably be added from next year (Asian Journal of Political Science, European Journal of International Security, Journal of Global Strategic Studies, Political Research Exchange); for now, some of these are still not covered in Scimago, as they’re fairly new. I am also tracking a number of open-access outlets with the significant push (at least in the UK) in that direction. Since most of the established outlets are either publishing roughly the same number of articles per year (if not reducing them), and these fields continue to grow in the number of active researchers, having alternative options can’t hurt. There’s an interesting commentary from several years ago on this phenomenon in economics, although with COVID, we may see a reduction in both universities and active researchers.
Some brief observations
AJPS remains more frequently cited and more influential (through weighted citations) than APSR, which was held up as the gold standard for publication when I was in grad school. The top general international relations journals all saw a slight drop in their influence after experiencing growth over the past few years. International business journals, in contrast, continued to grow in influence, although the difference between weighted and unweighted citation indices seems to be quite large for journals in the second quartile.
While I don’t include preprint servers in the journal list as they’re not journals, I did have a long-running discussion this year about choosing a preprint server for sharing ongoing unpublished work. SSRN seems to be the go-to for a lot of work in my field, but the combination of paid subscription for email notifications of new papers, sale to Elsevier (who kept those paid subscription requirements), and lack of any real interface innovation since I began using the service in graduate school, got me looking elsewhere.
ResearchGate is quite popular, but I got tired of the whole social-network aspect to the site, along with people constantly nagging me for access to papers that were freely available elsewhere (with that fact and a url mentioned on the same page). Academia.edu is similarly pointless for me, as its whole business plan is to act as a personal academic website. I like having my own better. Why don’t I directly host papers here? I periodically change the back-end structure of this site and don’t want to have to deal with links breaking; likewise, having a DOI (digital object identifier) is useful in this regard, and not something I can easily set up myself, as far as I know.
Some colleagues use SocArXiv and ArXiv for their preprints. The former has a very small database of papers and is largely confined to sociology. The latter is primarily used in other fields as well, although there are sections for statistics and economics (with extremely broad sub-categories in the latter). I’ve played with Zenodo, which is run by CERN and has a nice slick user interface. Apparently, it isn’t indexed by Google, so papers there don’t appear in Google Scholar results. My preference now is the Center for Open Science’s osf.io, which I’ve used for one paper so far; UCL operates its own server as well, but this is largely geared toward published works.