What drives the relevance and reputation of economics journals? An update from a survey among economists
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This paper analyses the interrelationship between perceived journal reputation and its relevance for academics’ work. Based on a survey of 705 members of the German Economic Association (GEA), we find a strong interrelationship between perceived journal reputation and relevance where a journal’s perceived relevance has a stronger effect on its reputation than vice versa. Moreover, past journal ratings conducted by the Handelsblatt and the GEA directly affect journals’ reputation among German economists and indirectly also their perceived relevance, but the effect on reputation is more than twice as large as the effect on perceived relevance. In general, citations have a non-linear impact on perceived journal reputation and relevance. While the number of landmark articles published in a journal (as measured by the so-called H-index) increases the journal’s reputation, an increase in the H-index even tends to decrease a journal’s perceived relevance, as long as this is not simultaneously reflected in a higher Handelsblatt and/or GEA rating. This suggests that a journal’s relevance is driven by average article quality, while reputation depends more on truly exceptional articles. We also identify significant differences in the views on journal relevance and reputation between different age groups.
KeywordsEconomic journals Academic journals Reputation Relevance Rigor Economists Fractional response models
JEL ClassificationA11 A14 I23 L82
We would like to thank all economists who participated in our survey. Moreover, we thank Elisabeth Flieger, Susanne Schäfers and Olaf Siegert (all of ZBW—Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft) for their excellent support in conducting the survey and assembling the data. For comments and very useful discussions we thank Michael Bräuninger, Florian Heiß and two anonymous referees.
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