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Digital impact factors and rankings of English economics journals 2011

October 14, 2011

Welcome to the first digital ranking of economics journals.  As research and its dissemination become increasingly digitally based, a digital impact ranking of journals seems overdue – hence this undertaking, which includes 307 English economic journals.  

The first column shows the journal’s ranking.  The second column, the impact factors, shows the number of hits Google Advanced Search turns up for the journal title as listed when placed in the “exact wording or phrase” box (e. g. “american economic review “).  Some journal titles, for example “Economic Theory “, do not lend themselves to a direct search.   Where a word in purple proceeded by + appears after the title, the score was generated by Google Advanced Search with the word “journal” and the title of the journal entered in the “exact wording or phrase” box.   Where a word in pink preceded by appears after the title, pages that included that word were not included in the advanced search.  Other search anomalies are explained in the list.   A few journals were omitted from the ranking process because no way was found adequately to isolate digital references to them. 

Because Google sometimes turns up wildly erroneous hit scores, readings, when suspect, have been repeated on subsequent days.   Google hit scores generally fluctuate daily by several percentage points, so that, where closely bunched, a journal’s ranking relative to its immediate neighbours should not be regarded as definite.  Furthermore, hit scores may shift substantially and sometimes quasi-permanently overnight.  As with all general ranking processes, this one is inexact, although less subjectively based and, perhaps most importantly, less open to ideological, institutional and nationalist rigging.

The digital top 20 includes most of the journals usually found in the top 20 of traditional rankings.  But it also contains five outsiders, including two that are neither US nor EU based.  This suggests that in the digital age the traditional power structures of the economic profession are strategically vulnerable.

The online research for this ranking was done in the first two weeks of October 2011.  This exercise will be carried out again in 2012.

Click here to download the rankings