Library Notes for Political Science

Teaching resources, news, and links to keep McGill’s Political Scientists informed

Who’s number one?

Posted by Megan on May 7, 2010

In the often competitive publish-or-perish world of academia, speculation over which journal is the best always makes for interesting conversation. In diverse fields like Political Science, there is never a single definitive answer…but this doesn’t diminish the importance of studying the literature.

Analyses of the journal literature in Political Science are helpful to researchers who are seeking to publish their work as well as to promote better understanding of the discipline as a whole.

There are two major approaches to the task of ranking journals in Political Science. First, bibliometrics have been applied to quantify journals’ importance and impact based on citations. Second, surveys of university faculty have been conducted to elicit their opinion of journals’ reputations.

In terms of bibliometrics, the key source of rankings is Journal Citation Reports published by the Institute of Scientific Information. [I wrote a post about this last year, transferred here for ease of reading.] Among other subjects, rankings for journals published in the fields of Political Science and International Relations are available.

Rankings

Based on ISI’s formulas, the Political Science journals with the highest impact factor in 2008 were:

1. Political Analysis
2. European Journal of Political Research
3. American Journal of Political Science

Unsurprisingly, American Political Science Review was cited most frequently overall.

Another ranking system is Eigenfactor, which aims to be “a measure of the overall value provided by all of the articles published in a given journal in a year.” The most recent Eigenfactor ranking for Political Science was completed in 2008. The top three were:

1. American Political Science Review
2. American Journal of Political Science
3. Journal of Politics

There is also a goodly amount of literature that discusses the rankings of journals and the methodologies favoured by various publications. I offer the following bibliography for those who wish to explore this further.

Further reading

Bennett, Andre, Aharo Barth, and Kennet R. Rutherford. “Do We Preach What We Practice? A Survey of Methods in Political Science Journals and Curricula.” PS: Political Science and Politics 36, no. 3 (2003): 373-378. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=164226

Butler, Linda, and Ian McAllister. “Metrics or Peer Review? Evaluating the 2001 UK Research Assessment Exercise in Political Science.” Political Studies Review 7, no. 1 (2009): 3-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1478-9299.2008.00167.x

Donovan, Claire. “Gradgrinding the Social Sciences: The Politics of Metrics of Political Science.” Political Studies Review 7, no. 1 (2009): 73-83. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1478-9299.2008.00172.x

Garand, James C. “Integration and Fragmentation in Political Science: Exploring Patterns of Scholarly Communication in a Divided Discipline.” The Journal of Politics 67, no. 4 (2005): 979-1005. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2508.2005.00347.x

Garand, James C., Micheal W. Giles, André Blais, and Iain McLean. “Political Science Journals in Comparative Perspective: Evaluating Scholarly Journals in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.” PS: Political Science and Politics 42, no. 4 (2009): 695-717. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1049096509990205

Garand, James C., and Micheal W. Giles. “Journals in the Discipline: A Report on a New Survey of American Political Scientists.” PS: Political Science and Politics 36, no. 2 (2003): 293-308. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1049096503002245

Giles, Micheal W., and James C. Garand. “Ranking Political Science Journals: Reputational and Citational Approaches.” PS: Political Science and Politics 40, no. 4 (2007): 741-751. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1049096507071181

Johnston, Ron. “Where There are Data … Quantifying the Unquantifiable.” Political Studies Review 7, no. 1 (2009): 50-62. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1478-9299.2008.00170.x

Mahoney, James. “Debating the State of Comparative Politics: Views From Qualitative Research.” Comparative Political Studies 40, no. 1 (January 1, 2007): 32-38. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0010414006294816

McLean, Iain, André Blais, James C. Garand, and Micheal Giles. “Comparative Journal Ratings: A Survey Report.” Political Studies Review 7, no. 1 (2009): 18-38. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1478-9299.2008.00168.x

Montpetit, Éric, André Blais, and Martial Foucault. “What Does it Take for a Canadian Political Scientist to be Cited.” Social Science Quarterly 89, no. 3 (2008): 802-816. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6237.2008.00561.x

Munck, Gerardo L., and Richard Snyder. “Debating the Direction of Comparative Politics: An Analysis of Leading Journals.” Comparative Political Studies 40, no. 1 (January 1, 2007): 5-31. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0010414006294815

Munck, Gerardo L., and Richard Snyder. “Visions of Comparative Politics: A Reply to Mahoney and Wibbels.” Comparative Political Studies 40, no. 1 (January 1, 2007): 45-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0010414006296337

Nisonger, Thomas E. Journals of the Century in Political Science and International Relations. The Serials Librarian 39, no. 3 (2001):79-94. http://www.informaworld.com/10.1300/J123v39n03_09

Russell, Andrew. “Retaining the Peers: How Peer Review Triumphs over League Tables and Faulty Accounting in the Assessment of Political Science Research.” Political Studies Review 7, no. 1 (2009): 63-72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1478-9299.2008.00171.x

Wibbels, Erik. “No Method to the Comparative Politics Madness.” Comparative Political Studies 40, no. 1 (January 1, 2007): 39-44. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0010414006294817

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2 Responses to “Who’s number one?”

  1. […] wrote more about journal rankings last month—always a controversial […]

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