Wednesday, July 11, 2007

2006 i.s.i. journal citation rankings for criminology n' penology

org theory reports this week on the new isi web of knowledge journal impact ratings for sociology, so i thought i'd check out the updated criminology and penology rankings. as the figure indicates, criminology once again ranks at the top of the list, with an impact factor of 2.1. this means that, on average, criminology articles published in the past two years were cited a little more than two times in 2006, relative to about 1.3 citations per quant crim article and one citation per justice quarterly article.

the ratings shift around from year to year, since a "hit" hundred-citation article in, say, policing would rocket that journal up the charts. this year, i'm a bit surprised by the high ranking of sexual abuse: a journal of research and treatment, but see few other surprises on the list. in my opinion, good articles appear in every one of these journals, though the top-ranked journals might be more consistent in publishing high-quality articles from stem to stern in every volume.

how should you consider such measures in assessing journal quality? i'd advise a multi-method approach. the best and most thoughtful discussion i've seen on ranking journal quality comes from the auburn university library. i'll paraphrase liberally:

1. Citation Analysis
A high number of citations generally indicates a high level of quality. Cited reference searching enables you to find articles from journals that have cited a book, a patent or another article. Through a cited reference search, you can discover how a known idea or innovation has been confirmed, applied, improved, extended or corrected...
Citation Analysis Debate

Impact Factor
Impact factor is based on the number of times that articles in a journal are cited in the two years following the year of publication...
High impact factor or highly cited journals are considered more prestigious and important. JCR Fact Sheet Impact Factor Debate

Prestige and Reputation of the Journal
The prestige and reputation of the association, society, or organization publishing a journal can be a determining factor. Theoretically, the most prestigious scholarly associations such as APA, IEEE, etc. publish the best, most important, research in the field and therefore their journals have more prestige and weight than others...

In-Depth Knowledge of the field and Journals in the field
...Few people have knowledge of, and familiarity with all scholarly journals in a discipline ...However, among sub-disciplines, it becomes more possible to possess in-depth familiarity with the journals. If someone does truly possess this knowledge, their opinion, of which are the “best” journals in a discipline is worth a great deal in assessment.

Acceptance/Rejection Rate of the Journal
...Low acceptance rate, high rejection rate journals are considered the best and most prestigious journals. ...Many journals and societies have web pages that give publication data and style requirements and often includes acceptance/rejection rates. The paper copy of the journal occasionally includes this data and will always provide current contact information.
Periodical Guide

Indexing Services covering the Journal
Whether a journal is indexed in the major indexing/abstracting service in the field is another criteria that can be used to assess the worth and quality of a journal.

7. Total Circulation of the Journal
...High readership and circulation could be markers of a journal's quality and/or popularity. Circulation numbers can be often be found in Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory or might be obtained from the journal publisher's website.

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