Where European scholars are publishing in Public Administration and why we already knew this

The European Union recently commissioned a study to “reflect on the state of the discipline and general trends within the discipline and in practice” of public administration (brought to you by the EU’s “Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future” Group–or COCOPS). The subsequent report produced a ranking of public administration/management journals through the results of a survey of European scholars, which asked the respondents to rank the order of preference for where they would submit a good paper.

At my own school, faculty have vigorously (and in a healthy manner, I might add) debated the relative importance of journal ranking. And, this debate is certainly not isolated to my current place of employment. But one might question whether any of this debate really matters. Once a given metric becomes an established point of reference among those judged on that metric, is there any reason to believe that any other metric (qualitative or quantitative) will adequately replace it?

For instance, the Journal Citations Report or Google Scholar Metrics are two rather widely accepted quantitative metrics for journal prominence in a given field. JCR, in particular, has been used for years and is prominently featured as the metric of choice on most social science journals’ websites.

Below, I show tables derived from the COCOPS study, JCR, and Google Scholar Metrics. I have eliminated distinctively “policy”-oriented journals from lists in the “Public Administration” category in both JCR and Google Scholar. Even keeping in mind the obvious European bias in the COCOPS report, an almost identical list would emerge based on five-year impact factor or Google Scholar metrics. In ALL three lists, the top five journals in the field of public administration are PA, PAR, JPART, Governance, and PMR.

Note that some journals do not yet have a 5-year impact factor score (e.g., IPMJ). Nonetheless, it seems to me that there are a couple things you could derive from the COCOPS report… (1) traditionally accepted quantitative rankings are endogenous to choice; or (2) they aren’t a bad rubric for some fields; or (3) both.

COCOPS study:

Table 11: Where would you submit a good paper – summary table Journal Frequency Percent
Public Administration 173 13.4%
Public Administration Review 141 10.9%
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 137 10.6%
Governance 101 7.8%
Public Management Review 80 6.2%
International Review of Administrative Sciences 77 6.0%
Administration and Society 31 2.4%
Journal of European Public Policy 29 2.3%
International Public Management Journal 26 2.0%
Local Government Studies 26 2.0%
Total 1288 100%

JCR by 5-year impact factor (*eliminating distinctively “policy” journals… e.g., Journal of European Social Policy, Policy Sciences, JPAM):

Mark Rank Abbreviated Journal Title JCR Data
(linked to journal information) Total Cites Impact 5-Year Immediacy Articles Cited
Factor Impact Index Half-life
1 J PUBL ADM RES THEOR 1816 1.951 3.337 0.486 35 7.6
4 GOVERNANCE 838 1.604 2.129 0.167 30 8.4
10 PUBLIC ADMIN 1372 1.062 1.583 0.14 57 8.1
11 PUBLIC ADMIN REV 3250 0.9 1.546 0.308 78 9.9
13 PUBLIC MANAG REV 575 0.989 1.291 0.073 55 6.6
14 AM REV PUBLIC ADM 474 0.781 1.257 0.114 35 6.7
18 ADMIN SOC 621 0.468 1.091 0.27 37 8.2
19 INT REV ADM SCI 307 0.559 0.94 0.229 35 5.8

Google Scholar Metrics by h5-index (*also eliminating distinctively “policy” journals):

Publication h5-index h5-median
1. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 36 56
2. Public Administration Review 35 54
3. Public Administration 29 46
4. Public Management Review 23 34
5. Governance 22 35
6. The American Review of Public Administration 21 25
7. International Review of Administrative Sciences 20 34
8. Social Policy & Administration 20 26
9. International Journal of Public Sector Management 19 30
10. Administration & Society 19 28
11. International Public Management Journal 18 37
12. Australian Journal of Public Administration 16 26
13. International Journal of Public Administration 16 20

1 thought on “Where European scholars are publishing in Public Administration and why we already knew this

  1. Pingback: Wordpress Blog Post On Where European Scholars Are Publishing In Public Administration And Why We Already Knew This - Wordpress Blogs .NET

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