Uncertainty Measures for Economics Journal Impact Factors

24 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2013 Last revised: 13 Jan 2013

See all articles by David I. Stern

David I. Stern

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Date Written: December 29, 2012

Abstract

Academic economists appear to be intensely interested in rankings of journals, institutions, and individuals. Yet there is little discussion of the uncertainty associated with these rankings. To illustrate the uncertainty associated with citations-based rankings, I compute the standard error of the impact factor for all economics journals with a five-year impact factor in the 2011 Journal Citations Report. I use these to derive confidence intervals for the impact factors as well as ranges of possible rank for a subset of thirty journals. I find that the impact factors of the top two journals are well defined and set these journals apart in a clearly defined group. An elite group of 9-11 mainstream journals can also be fairly reliably distinguished. The four bottom ranked journals are also fairly clearly set apart. For the remainder of the distribution, confidence intervals overlap and rankings are quite uncertain.

Keywords: academic, journals, economics

JEL Classification: A14

Suggested Citation

Stern, David I., Uncertainty Measures for Economics Journal Impact Factors (December 29, 2012). Crawford School Research Paper No. 13-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2199162 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2199162

David I. Stern (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building, #132, Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

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