Sociological Forum

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 481–491 | Cite as

Measures of success in American sociology

  • Thomas J. Phelan
Notes And Insights


This research examines two measures of success in American sociology: publication in major sociological journals and election to the presidency of the American Sociological Association (ASA). Variables considered include the total number of publications in major journals, total number of citations, number of books written, graduate institutions, and year of doctoral degree. The productivity of authors is found to be consistent with the pattern first suggested by Lotka. Publication in top journals is a relatively open process with a large number of different authors publishing over a 20-year period and considerable circulation of top publishing authors in adjacent decades. Top publishers and ASA presidents appear to follow different career paths. ASA presidents tend to receive their doctorates from more elite institutions, publish substantially more books, and place fewer articles in the major journals than do cohorts of top publishing authors.

Key words

success in American sociology American Sociological Association publication presidency of American Sociological Association 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas J. Phelan
    • 1
  1. 1.Social Sciences ComputingUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos Angeles

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