ACADEMIC PUBLISHING: 4 WAYS TO UNDERSTAND JOURNAL RANKINGS
Graduates of Trident’s Ph.D. programs are trained to become independent researchers. As students work towards the completion of their dissertation, they collaborate closely with University faculty who help to guide the development of research skills.
A goal of many graduates is not just to successfully defend their dissertation, but also to see it published in an academic journal. Research that is published in a peer-reviewed journal is a formal recognition of a scholar’s contribution to the public body of knowledge for his or her chosen field.
Not all journals are created equal. Students and alumni alike should be aware of the types of journals out there – many are quite good and can be great CV-builders, while there are some that need to be avoided.
- Rankings: All journals are ranked, and the most prestigious ones accept less than 10% of submissions. To get tenure at a top university, professors need to consistently get published in the highest-ranked journals.
- How is a Journal Ranked?: Rankings are done a few ways based on citation activity, but one of the most well-known methods is the Impact Factor. This figure is reached through simple math: take the total number of times a journal’s articles were cited during the previous two years and divide it by the total number of citable articles in the journal during those two years. In the social sciences, an impact factor above 1 is reputable and above 5 is considered outstanding. Some high quality natural science journals have impact factors in the double digits.
Most high quality journals do not charge submission fees. There are some exceptions though such as some accounting and finance journals, which charge a consideration fee up to $300. For these journals, this is a normal practice and is done so only the best research is submitted.
- Other Journal Rankings:
- Cabell’s Directory – All journals listed in this directory are considered reputable.
- Anne-Wil Harzing compiles a list of journals at harzing.com.
- SCImago (scimajojr.com) and Google Scholar show journal rankings for every discipline using metrics like Impact Factor or a more complex h-index citation metric.
- Predatory Journals: There has been a major growth in online-only journals. While some are reputable, many are scams and will accept any paper for a large submission fee. Keep an eye out for them, especially those that solicit through spam email. Avoid any journal listed on Beall’s list of predatory journals, and be cautious with any journal that charge fees only for accepted papers.
Learn more about this subject in our Culture of Research and Education (CORE) webinar, “Publishing in the Academic World,” hosted by Dr. Indira Guzman and featuring panelists Dr. Qin Sun and Dr. Joshua Shackman. Dr. Shackman, who presented the section on journal rankings, is serves as Department Chair, Finance, Economics, and Accounting, at Trident. He earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and has had 15 articles published in peer-reviewed journals.