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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Truth about the ‘Top 5’: How Good are They?


In this paper, I will address the immense amount of importance that economic academia places on being published in one of the ‘Top 5’ academic journals, and attempt to discern whether or not the preeminence of these five is truly well-deserved. Using simple regression-based analysis and complimentary descriptive statistics, I find that in terms of five-year Impact Factors there is little variation amongst the ‘Top 5’ and other top performing journals. In addition, I find that these five are surprisingly not the top performing economic journals. To supplement these findings, I also analyze general time trends to indicate which journal fields are experiencing the most growth. General Interest journals, which four of the five ‘Top 5’ are, are not experiencing nearly as much growth as their contemporaries suggesting that the differences between the five and other journals in terms of their Impact Factors may continue to diminish as journals of faster growing fields continue to attract more and more attention and as a result more citations.

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