The article focuses on the robustness of rankings of academic journal quality and research impact in general, and in economics, in particular, based on the widely-used Thomson Reuters ISI Web of Science citations database (ISI). The article analyzes 299 leading international journals in economics using quantifiable Research Assessment Measures (RAMs), and highlights the similarities and differences in various RAMs, which are based on alternative transformations of citations and influence. All existing RAMs to date have been static, so two new dynamic RAMs are developed to capture changes in impact factor over time and escalating journal self-citations. Alternative RAMs may be calculated annually or updated daily to determine When, Where, and How (frequently) published articles are cited (see Chang et al., 2011a–c). The RAMs are grouped in four distinct classes that include impact factor, mean citations, and non-citations, journal policy, number of high quality articles, journal influence, and article influence. These classes include the most widely used RAMs, namely, the classic 2-year impact factor including journal self-citations (2YIF), 2-year impact factor excluding journal self citations (2YIF*), 5-year impact factor including journal self citations (5YIF), Eigenfactor (or Journal Influence), Article Influence, h-index, and Papers Ignored–By Even The Authors (PI-BETA). As all existing RAMs to date have been static, two new dynamic RAMs are developed to capture changes in impact factor over time (5YD2 = 5YIF/2YIF) and Escalating Self-Citations (ESC). We highlight robust rankings based on the harmonic mean of the ranks of RAMs across the four classes. It is shown that emphasizing the 2YIF of a journal, which partly answers the question as to When published articles are cited, to the exclusion of other informative RAMs, which answer Where and How (frequently) published articles are cited, can lead to a distorted evaluation of journal quality, impact, and influence relative to the harmonic mean of the ranks.

5YD2, Article Influence, C3PO, Economics, Eigenfactor, ESC, h-Index, Harmonic mean of the ranks, IFI, Impact factor, Journal rankings, PI-BETA, Research assessment measures, STAR
Methodological Issues; General (jel C18), Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data (jel C81), Data: Tables and Charts (jel Y10),
Econometric Reviews
Department of Econometrics

Chang, C-L, Maasoumi, E, & McAleer, M.J. (2016). Robust Ranking of Journal Quality: An Application to Economics. Econometric Reviews, 35(1), 50–97. doi:10.1080/07474938.2014.956639