new citation impact rankings
As announced earlier on O&M, the ISI Web of Knowledge released their 2006 journal impact factors. As always, the impact rankings are not quite what you’d expect. It is rather surprising that Social Forces had such a low citation impact in 2006 where it ranks 14 among sociology journals. In 2005 Social Forces was at number 6. As Nicolai noted, Administrative Science Quarterly is now ranked number 5 among management journals (if you exclude information systems journals). That doesn’t seem that bad until you consider that ASQ has long been considered the top organizations journal.
I can’t decide what to make of these lists. Just as Kieran noted that reputation ~= quantifiable measures of baseball loser-ness, prestige rankings of journals probably differ significantly from their actual citation impact. Also, these lists change a lot depending on where you draw the lines. When discussing the top organizations journals, most of us would reasonably exclude the information systems journals, but I imagine that other lines could be drawn that would allow you to reshuffle the journal rankings according to your preferences. For example, in sociology Sociologia Ruralis is ranked number 5, but many of us would not consider this journal to be part of our reading milieu. Once you start excluding all of the specialty journals that don’t pertain to you, Social Forces suddenly looks like a much better journal (which I think it is, at least to the general sociology readership).
My sense is that a junior scholar is better off first trying to maximize the number of articles that he or she can get into the most prestigious journals, based on peers’ perceptions, rather than try the hit-and-miss strategy of aiming for those journals that have relatively higher impact factors. Prestige is sticky. Impact factors, whatever they measure, are much more slippery. Chances are, if your article is good and it ends up in a prestigious journal, it will get cited.