Political Science Journal Rankings

How do we judge how good a journal is? Ideally by the quality of articles it publishes. But the best systematic way of quantifying quality we’ve come up with so far are citation-based rankings. And these are far from perfect, as a simple Google Search will reveal (here’s one such article).

I’ve been using Academic Sequitur data to experiment with an alternative way of ranking journals. The basic idea is to calculate what percent of authors who published in journal X have also published in a top journal for that discipline (journals can also be ranked relative to every other journal, but the result is more difficult to understand). As you might imagine, this ranking is also not perfect, but it has yielded very reasonable results in economics (see here).

Now it’s time to try this ranking out in a field outside my own: Political Science. As a reference point, I took 3 top political science journals: American Political Science Review (APSR), American Journal of Political Science (AJPS), and Journal of Politics (JOP). I then calculated what percent of authors who published in each of 20 other journals since 2018 have also published a top-3 article at any point since 2000.

Here are the top 10 journals, according to this ranking (the above-mentioned stat is in the first column).


Quarterly Journal of Political Science and International Organization come out as the top 2. This is noteworthy because alternative lists of top political science journals suggested to me included these two journals! Political Analysis is a close second, followed by a group of 5 journals with very similar percentages overall (suggesting similar quality).

Below is the next set of ten. Since this is not my research area, I’m hoping you can tell me in the comments whether these rankings are reasonable or not! Happy publishing.

Finally, here’s an excel version of the full table, in case you want to re-sort by another column. Note that if a journal is not listed, that means I did not rank it. Feel free to ask about other journals in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Political Science Journal Rankings

  1. Hi, I think it is an interesting exercise but not to capture journals’ quality. It is rather an interesting way to study PolSci journals as networks. It captures what journals are interconnected to APSR, AJPS and JoP, and which are not. It describes networks of journals. In that respect, it would be interesting to expand the approach and to show how all journals might be interconnected. SNA could help a lot in that respect.
    Yet, I don’t believe that it is at all a measure of quality, unless when believes that the only way to be a top quality journal is to belong to the same network than APSR, AJPS and JoP. And I doubt it very much.

    1. So you don’t think the resulting order is actually correlated with journal quality in the case of political science? Or do you think this ranking is flawed in principle, regardless of the quality of the results?

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