Benchmarking Journals via Google Scholar

How can arts and social science faculty show their quality to be just as high as STEM? One of the things that becomes clear when you spend any time engaged in the promotions or hiring process of universities is that there is an increased drive towards metric. This has spread from the STEM area to the AHSS areas .

Another that becomes clear is that when one is looking across faculties and areas, with the best will in the world the old adage “what gets measured gets managed” is in operation, except “what gets measured gets promoted” may be a better conceptualisation. Regardless of what anyone in a meeting or a letter says, a group of disparate assessors, including perhaps people from outside the academy who are unclear of the nuances of citation and influences, they will be in my experience more swayed towards the candidates with “more better”. Lets leave aside the issue of whether or not citations mean anything in terms of impact (my view, something but not as much as we might think).

We need, us in AHSS disciplines, to be able to benchmark our work against our STEM colleagues. Decry it as we migh, but Google is the king of big data. Google scholar is fast becoming as essential a search and bibilometric tool as any of the longer established publisher led databases. Where it excels is in its breadth, and this perhaps can be a flaw. Googlebots scour the web for citations, and aggregates them. They have recently published the 2014 journal rankings (yep, just what we need…more rankings…). Its breadth can mean that it is capturing citations to grey literature and so forth but hey, its breadth means it is capturing citations in a much wider manner than otherwise. One of the saddest letters I saw was from a very well known macroeconomist who stated that only papers in journals in the Journal Citation Reports mattered. This is delusional, and dangerously so, ignoring as it does the pattern of citation and influence. Needless to say this letter was taken seriously by the STEM based members of a panel, disregarding the fact that there are many many more, proportionally, STEM journals than AHSS journals in TR citations. Such are why we need to cast our net widely. 

The graph below shows starkly the two areas. AHSS journals, all bar the top 6 business, economic and management ones, have lower h-indices. A h-index of 20 for a journal means that 20 articles in that journal have been cited at least 20 times. Here it is actually a h-5 index, so it looks at the last 5 years only.

Clearly the top STEM journals cite more and more often than the top AHSS journals. All things being equal therefore a publication or an author in these STEM journals will have a higher h index than one in AHSS journals. This doesn’t mean that they are better – it means they operate in a different context to AHSS. That’s all.

Assuming that for the moment we are concerned with simple rankings, we should therefore be able to consider benchmarking. A publication in the second ranked BusEcoMgt journal (American Economic Review) ‘=’ one in The Lancet = one in Language Learning the second ranked in humanities and arts. Instead in other words of getting hung up on the cardinality of the journal metrics we should look at the ordinarily of them.

h5top20

 

Table 1 : h5 Indices of top 20 journals

All

Bus, Eco, Mgmt

Chem and Material

Nature

355

NBER Working Papers

168

Chemical Reviews

193

The New England Journal of Medicine

329

The American Economic Review

122

Journal of the American Chemical Society

190

Science

311

Review of Financial Studies

116

Chemical Society reviews

176

The Lancet

248

The Journal of Finance

107

Nano Letters

174

Cell

223

CEPR Discussion Papers

105

Advanced Materials

173

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

217

Journal of Financial Economics

101

Angewandte Chemie International Edition

171

Journal of Clinical Oncology

205

The Quarterly Journal of Economics

91

ACS Nano

149

Chemical Reviews

193

IZA Discussion Papers

81

Nature Materials

146

Physical Review Letters

191

Econometrica

75

Nature Nanotechnology

136

Journal of the American Chemical Society

190

Management Information Systems Quarterly

72

Accounts of Chemical Research

127

Nature Genetics

188

Academy of Management Journal

72

Biomaterials

118

JAMA

181

Strategic Management Journal

70

The Journal of Physical Chemistry C

115

Circulation

178

Journal of Business Ethics

70

Journal of Biological Chemistry

114

Chemical Society reviews

176

Organization Science

68

Advanced Functional Materials

111

Nano Letters

174

Journal of Management

67

Energy & Environmental Science

111

Advanced Materials

173

Review of Economics and Statistics

67

Journal of Materials Chemistry

110

Angewandte Chemie International Edition

171

Journal of Banking & Finance

66

Chemical communications (Cambridge, England)

110

NBER Working Papers

168

Journal of Marketing

65

Chemistry of Materials

107

Nucleic Acids Research

164

The Review of Economic Studies

65

Journal of Hazardous Materials

106

Journal of the American College of Cardiology

162

The Economic Journal

63

Analytical Chemistry

102

           

Engineerign

Medical

Social Science

Nano Letters

174

The New England Journal of Medicine

329

Computers & Education

81

Advanced Materials

173

The Lancet

248

Health Affairs

77

ACS Nano

149

Cell

223

Research Policy

73

Nature Materials

146

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

217

Journal of Business Ethics

70

Nature Nanotechnology

136

Journal of Clinical Oncology

205

American Journal of Public Health

69

Nature Photonics

122

Nature Genetics

188

Global Environmental Change

66

IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, CVPR

118

JAMA

181

Social Science & Medicine

65

The Journal of Physical Chemistry C

115

Circulation

178

American Political Science Review

54

Advanced Functional Materials

111

Journal of the American College of Cardiology

162

American Journal of Political Science

53

Energy & Environmental Science

111

Blood

156

Journal of Educational Psychology

52

Journal of Materials Chemistry

110

PLoS ONE

148

Academic Medicine

52

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

108

Nature Medicine

146

Journal of Vocational Behavior

49

Chemistry of Materials

107

Nature Reviews Cancer

135

Foreign Affairs

48

Bioresource Technology

106

Neuron

135

American Sociological Review

47

Journal of Hazardous Materials

106

British Medical Journal

133

Progress in Human Geography

47

Bioinformatics

104

Cancer Research

133

Teaching and Teacher Education

47

IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence

104

The Journal of Clinical Investigation

133

Health & Place

46

Journal of Power Sources

100

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

132

Land Use Policy

46

IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics

98

Gastroenterology

132

Review of Educational Research

45

IEEE Transactions on Information Theory

93

Nature Immunology

129

Annual Review of Sociology

45

           
           
           

Humanities and Arts

Life and Earth

Physics and Math

Journal of Communication

38

Nature

355

Physical Review Letters

191

Language Learning

34

Science

311

arXiv Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics (astro-ph.CO)

162

Public Opinion Quarterly

32

Cell

223

The Astrophysical Journal

153

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

32

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

217

arXiv High Energy Physics – Phenomenology (hep-ph)

145

Synthese

32

Nature Genetics

188

arXiv Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics (cond-mat.mes-hall)

138

The Modern Language Journal

31

Nucleic Acids Research

164

arXiv Materials Science (cond-mat.mtrl-sci)

136

Journal of Pragmatics

31

PLoS ONE

148

Physical Review D

134

Lingua

31

Neuron

135

Journal of High Energy Physics

130

System

30

Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology

131

arXiv Quantum Physics (quant-ph)

128

Ethnic and Racial Studies

30

Nature Reviews Genetics

129

Physical Review B

128

Applied Linguistics

29

Nature Biotechnology

129

Nature Physics

124

Philosophical Studies

28

Cell Stem Cell

121

arXiv High Energy Physics – Theory (hep-th)

124

Gender & Society

27

Molecular Cell

121

Nature Photonics

122

Language

26

Nature Cell Biology

115

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

121

International Journal of Communication

26

Environmental Science & Technology

115

arXiv High Energy Physics – Experiment (hep-ex)

118

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

26

Genes & Development

114

Applied Physics Letters

117

Language Teaching

25

Journal of Biological Chemistry

114

Astronomy & Astrophysics

112

Political Communication

25

Nature Methods

113

arXiv Superconductivity (cond-mat.supr-con)

109

Music Perception

25

Genome Research

109

Reviews of Modern Physics

107

Journalism

25

The Journal of Cell Biology

108

arXiv High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (astro-ph.HE)

107

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5 thoughts on “Benchmarking Journals via Google Scholar

  1. Pingback: Ninth Level Ireland » Blog Archive » Benchmarking Journals via Google Scholar

  2. Ernie Ball

    The journal rankings for Humanities and Arts are a joke. The “Journal of Communication” is the top journal? One suspects that the rankings are distorted by bias toward STEM subjects: the Journal of Communication is tops because it actually isn’t an Arts and Humanities Journal at all. Similar things could be said about some others. Furthermore, the emphasis is clearly on journals oriented toward the applied and the practical. Hence the emphasis on “language learning.”

    Finally, what do you mean “us [sic] in AHSS disciplines”? You’re not in one. You’re in business. Here, read this: http://iasc-culture.org/THR/THR_article_2014_Summer_Brewer.php

    Reply
    1. brianmlucey Post author

      Ernie
      a) the rankings are the rankings from google scholar. Take your bitterness to them. And no, there is no ’emphasis’ as far as I am aware. Its a broad sweep
      b) So you dont think business is a social science? That makes you and , errr… hang on.

      Reply
      1. Ernie Ball

        Yeah, I got that it was from Google. In which case, I cannot explain the nonsensical idiocy of the rankings. Then again, what reason is there to think that Google–a business–would have any expertise at all in the domain of scholarship?

        As for the other, related, question, if business is a social science, why isn’t it grouped into faculties with other social sciences at any university anywhere in the world? The answer is: it’s not a social science. Indeed, it’s not any kind of science or even a subject for scholarship. As that article points out, the idea of “business scholarship” is an oxymoron, both etymologically and in reality: “a scholé of the negation of scholé“. A busy-ness school is a contradiction in terms. As Brewer describes it:

        An institution devoted to discussion and thought unfolding under its own internal demands, yet offering training for the sort of life that has no place for such thought—the sort that places thought in service of need. Indeed, the contrast is rather starker these days, since business busies itself not merely with the navigation of need but with the creation and intensification of felt need, hence with continuous amplification of the realm of human life in which thought takes direction from something alien to it.

      2. brianmlucey Post author

        Ernie : I warned you. Banned. How dare you suggest that I am not working in an academic discipline? . At least have the courage to “out ” yourself if you want to make cracks like that. My blog my rules – if you want to insult me do it my face.

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