Journal Rankings in Sociology: Using the H Index with Google Scholar
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There is considerable interest in the ranking of journals, given the intense pressure to place articles in the “top” journals. In this article, a new index, h, and a new source of data—Google Scholar – are introduced, and a number of advantages of this methodology to assessing journals are noted. This approach is attractive because it provides a more robust account of the scholarly enterprise than do the standard Journal Citation Reports. Readily available software enables do-it-yourself assessments of journals, including those not otherwise covered, and enable the journal selection process to become a research endeavor that identifies particular articles of interest. While some critics are skeptical about the visibility and impact of sociological research, the evidence presented here indicates that most sociology journals produce a steady stream of papers that garner considerable attention. While the position of individual journals varies across measures, there is a high degree commonality across these measurement approaches. A clear hierarchy of journals remains no matter what assessment metric is used. Moreover, data over time indicate that the hierarchy of journals is highly stable and self-perpetuating. Yet highly visible articles do appear in journals outside the set of elite journals. In short, the h index provides a more comprehensive picture of the output and noteworthy consequences of sociology journals than do than standard impact scores, even though the overall ranking of journals does not markedly change.
KeywordsSociology journals Citations Journal rankings H index Google scholar
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