Skip to main content
Log in

Political science in Central and Eastern Europe: integration with limited convergence in Czechia

  • Special Issue article
  • Published:
European Political Science Aims and scope Submit manuscript

A Correction to this article was published on 12 March 2021

This article has been updated


This article discusses the integration of scholars from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) into the broader field of European political science. Evaluating data from 2000 to 2020, we ask whether CEE scholars managed to “close the gap” stemming from the initially underdeveloped state of post-communist political science. We contend that the results are rather mixed: CEE scholars have been increasingly present, yet achieved only very limited access to the top levels and mostly remain in a position of dependency. Using the case of Czechia, we discuss the factors that have likely contributed to the perpetuation of this state of integration with limited convergence.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Source: Authors, based on WoS (2020)

Fig. 2

Source: Authors, based on WoS (2020)

Fig. 3

Source: Authors, based on WoS (2020)

Fig. 4

Source: Authors, based on WoS (2020)

Fig. 5

Source: Authors, based on ERC (2020)

Similar content being viewed by others

Change history


  1. The seat of the author’s institution represents the main criterion for ascribing the publication, e.g. an article written by a German at a Czech institution counts as a Czech article. This corresponds to our structural definition of political science, as outlined in the introduction.

  2. A more sophisticated way of comparing countries would be by using exact coefficients to adjust the data for population, GDP or other indicators (with often conflicting adjustments for even these two measures; see Jurajda et al. 2015). For the purposes of our argument, a rough comparison without the use of statistical methods is sufficient.

  3. For example, Czechia leads the whole sample of eight countries in number of publications in the fourth quartile of JIF journals with 460 articles. Austria came second with 268 articles.

  4. The graph includes data with CEU. If CEU was excluded, the curve would resemble Slovakia.

  5. There is a simple explanation why the years 2012 and 2015 show such irregularities. In those years, the journal Politická ekonomie (Political Economy) made it to Q2 despite its being a Czech journal publishing mainly articles in Czech by Czech authors. In 2012, Politická ekonomie published 35 articles (out of total 51 in Q2) and in 2015 41 (out of total 65 in Q2), which largely inflated the numbers in the category Q1 and Q2.

  6. Until January 2021.

  7. CEU distorts the picture again. Hungary received a total of 14 grants, with CEU accounting for 12 of these 14.

  8. As of 1 December 2020.

  9. Problems of Post-Communism, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Europe-Asia Studies, Slavic Review, and East European Politics and Societies: and Cultures.

  10. The counts would change if we included CEU among CEE universities. CEU alone has two Associate Editors and four members of editorial boards, therefore more than the whole CEE combined.

  11. These are Charles University in Prague, Masaryk University in Brno and the Institute of International Relations Prague. For comparison of publication performance in 2017–2019, see the web app of the Economics Institute of the National Academy of Sciences at

  12. The most important exceptions to this pattern are multiple Prague-based International Relations departments and research institutions.


  • Ágh, A. 2019. Declining Democracy in East-Central Europe: The Divide in the EU and Emerging Hard Populism. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Alatas, S.F. 2003. Academic dependency and the global division of labour in the social sciences. Current Sociology 51 (6): 599–613.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Appel, H., and M.A. Orenstein. 2018. From Triumph to Crisis: Neoliberal Economic Reform in Postcommunist Countries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Blagojević, M., and G. Yair. 2010. The Catch 22 syndrome of social scientists in the semiperiphery: Exploratory sociological observations. Sociologija 52 (4): 337–358.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Börzel, T.A., and T. Risse. 2012. From Europeanisation to diffusion: Introduction. West European Politics 35 (1): 1–19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Busta, D. 2020. Co se sebrat a odejít? Skoro všude v Evropě se platí nižší nájmy a je snazší pořídit si byt než v Praze. Hospodářské noviny. Available at Accessed 15 Oct 2020.

  • Collyer, F.M. 2018. Global patterns in the publishing of academic knowledge: Global North, global South. Current Sociology 66 (1): 56–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Das, J., Q.T. Do, K. Shaines, and S. Srikant. 2013. U.S. and them: The geography of academic research. Journal of Development Economics 105: 112–130.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ditrych, O. 2020. Oborový komentář k hodnocení podle Modulu 2: Ford: 5. 6. Political Science, available at Accessed 30 Oct 2020.

  • Drulák, P. 2001. Mezinárodní vztahy—časopis a disciplína. Mezinárodní vztahy 36 (1): 5–7.

    Google Scholar 

  • Drulák, P. 2009. Přestaňme dohánět, začněme tvořit! Budoucnost českého oboru mezinárodních vztahů. Mezinárodní vztahy 44 (3): 95–109.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eberle, J. 2018. Desire as geopolitics: Reading the glass room as central european fantasy. International Political Sociology 12 (2): 172–189.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • ERC. 2020. ERC Funded Projects. Available at Accessed 20 Sept 2020.

  • Government of the Czech Republic. 2004. Usnesení vlády ze dne 23. června 2004 č. 644 k hodnocení výzkumu a vývoje a jeho výsledků. Available at Accessed 30 Sept 2020.

  • Havlík, V., and V. Hloušek. 2020. Differential Illiberalism: Classifying Illiberal Trends in Central European Party Politics. In Illiberal Trends and Anti-EU Politics in East Central Europe, ed. A. Lorenz and L.H. Anders, 111–136. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Holzer, J. and P. Pšeja. 2002. Political science—Czech Republic.In Three social science disciplines in Central and Eastern Europe: Handbook on economics, political science and sociology (1989–2001), ed. M. Kaase, V. Sparschuh and A. Wenninger. Berlin: Informationszentrum Sozialwissenschaften, pp. 226–245. Available at Accessed 1 Oct 2020.

  • Holzer, J., R. Chytilek, P. Pšeja, and M. Šindelář. 2009. Kým a kde se produkuje česká věda. Personálně-institucionální analýza publikací v českých recenzovaných politologických časopisech. Středoevropské politické studie 11 (2–3): 107–132.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jurajda, Š., S. Kozubek, D. Münich and S. Škoda. 2015. Mezinárodní srovnání kvality publikačního výkonu vědních oborů v České republice. Prague: Economic Institute of the Academy of Sciences. Available at Accessed 15 Oct 2020.

  • Kofroň, J., and I. Kruntorádová. 2015. Česká cesta metodologického vzdělávání v politické vědě v mezinárodní perspective. Mezinárodní vztahy 50 (4): 26–48.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kouba, K., O. Císař, and J. Navrátil. 2015. The Czech Political Science: A Slow March towards Relevance? In Political Science in Europe at the Beginning of the 21st Century, ed. B. Krauz-Mozer, M. Kułakowska, P. Borowiec, and P. Ścigaj, 63–85. Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kratochvíl, P. 2016. Strukturální problémy české sociální vědy. O hybridním charakteru oboru mezinárodních vztahů. Mezinárodní vztahy 51 (1): 17–29.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kuus, M. 2007. Geopolitics Reframed: Security and Identity in Europe’s Eastern Enlargement. Houndmills: Palgrave.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Lohaus, M., and W. Wemheuer-Vogelaar. 2020. Who publishes where? Exploring the geographic diversity of global IR journals. International Studies Review.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maliniak, D., S. Peterson, R. Powers, and M.J. Tierney. 2018. Is international relations a global discipline? Hegemony, insularity, and diversity in the field. Security Studies 27 (3): 448–484.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Medve-Bálint, G., and V. Šćepanović. 2020. EU funds, state capacity and the development of transnational industrial policies in Europe’s Eastern periphery. Review of International Political Economy 27 (5): 1063–1082.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Muller-Camen, M., and S. Salzgeber. 2005. Changes in academic work and the chair regime: The case of German business administration academics. Organization Studies 26 (2): 271–290.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nölke, A., and A. Vliegenthart. 2009. Enlarging the varieties of capitalism: The emergence of dependent market economies in East Central Europe. World Politics 61 (4): 670–702.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nyklová, B., K. Cidlinská, and N. Fárová. 2019. International relations in the Czech Republic: Where have all the women gone? Mezinárodní vztahy 54 (2): 5–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schimmelfennig, F. 2003. The EU, NATO and the Integration of Europe: Rules and Rhetoric. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Šanc, D. 2009. Česká politologie: Etablování oboru. Plzeň: Západočeská univerzita.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tickner, A.B. 2013. Core, periphery and (neo) imperialist International Relations. European Journal of International Relations 19 (3): 627–646.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wæver, O. 2007. Still a Discipline after All These Debates? In International Relations Theories: Discipline and Diversity, ed. T. Dunne, M. Kurki, and S. Smith, 288–308. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wallerstein, I. 1979. The Capitalist World-Economy: Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • WoS. 2020. InCites. Available at Accessed 20 Sept 2020.

  • Záhora, J. 2016. O nutnosti reflexe oborových norem. Mezinárodní vztahy 51 (3): 73–83.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


We would like to thank the editors for their valuable comments. We also express our gratitude to Ludovica Balducci, Helen Cooper, Jan Daniel, Pavel Dufek, Blanka Farkašová, Vlastimil Havlík, David Kosař, Juraj Medzihorský, Miroslav Nemčok, Bríd Ní Ghráinne, Ondřej Slačálek and Daniel Šitera, as well as the participants of the Research Seminar at Masaryk University for useful inputs and comments on the previous version of the manuscript. The article was written as part of the “Perspectives of European Integration in a Changing International Environment II” (MUNI/A/1044/2019) project.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Hubert Smekal or Oldřich Krpec.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Eberle, J., Smekal, H., Ocelík, P. et al. Political science in Central and Eastern Europe: integration with limited convergence in Czechia. Eur Polit Sci 20, 183–203 (2021).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: