Italians do it better? The Italian approach to the international relations


International relations (IR) as a discipline have had a troubled history in Italy. Indeed, the previous academic literature on the topic has highlighted how the lack of critical mass and influence of Italian IR scholarship have negatively impacted its visibility at the international level (Lucarelli and Menotti in Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica 32(1):32–82, 2002; Friedrichs in European approaches to international relations theory: a house with many mansions, Routledge, London, 2004). However, there are few systematic studies that focus on the scientific publications of Italian scholars in IR. In order to fill this gap, the article presents the results of a study assessing Italian scholars’ impact in peer-reviewed international journals. Specifically, this work aims to make a broader assessment of Italian scholars’ publications from 2011 to 2017 using a database that includes 25 high impact-factor international peer-reviewed journals and five Italian journals. It also aims to identify the gender, geographic origin, affiliation and academic role of Italian scholars, as well as the topic, area, theoretical approach and methodological underpinnings of each article, so as to generate previously unexplored findings on the solidity and impact of Italian IR research both in Italy and abroad.

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  1. 1.

    The first “Woodrow Wilson” Chair of IR chair established at Aberystwyth University in 1919.

  2. 2.

    Società Italiana Scienze Politiche.

  3. 3.

    The website of the Italian SGRI can be accessed here:

  4. 4.

    More specifically, Lucarelli and Menotti consider: Daedalus, European Foreign Affairs Review; European Journal of International Relations; International Affairs; International Organization; International Security; International Studies Quarterly; Journal of Conflict Resolution; Journal of Peace Research; Millennium; Political Science Quarterly; Review of International Studies; Security Dialogue.

  5. 5.

    For a recent analysis, which uses a similar methodological approach, on the case of the hegemony, insularity and diversity of the IR discipline in the USA, see Maliniak et al. (2018).

  6. 6.

    The latest TRIP Faculty Survey (2014) in Italy can be accessed here:

  7. 7.

    Moschella has 11 publications in the whole dataset: 4 in TJ, 5 in IF journals and 2 in non-IF journals.

  8. 8.

    In total, they have 20 publications in the whole dataset and 11 publications in TJ.

  9. 9.

    Altimetrics are complementary to traditional, citation-based metrics. They can include peer reviews on Faculty, citations on Wikipedia, research blogs, mainstream media coverage, bookmarks on reference managers and mentions on social networks.


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Calcara, A., Vittori, D. Italians do it better? The Italian approach to the international relations. Eur Polit Sci 18, 669–694 (2019).

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