In my long running quest to make xkcd’s parody real, yesterday on Twitter and Facebook I asked, sociologists to rank the generalist journals from best to worst. Practically, I circulated a wiki survey via AllOurIdeas (you can still take it here, but I won’t update these rankings right away) to that effect, stating the question as “Which generalist sociology journal is better? [Imagine evaluating a CV for a job.]” So far, users have cast 5870 votes across 189 unique sessions (though I haven’t dug into the details beyond that, so it’s possible that Fabio cast most of the votes). My goal here, as the prompt indicates, was to cue the context of glancing at someone’s CV and seeing one of the listed journals, though who knows how it was actually interpreted. Here are the rankings as of Thursday, 9/28, 8:40am:
From All Our Ideas: “The score of an idea is the estimated chance that it will win against a randomly chosen idea. For example, a score of 100 means the idea is predicted to win every time and a score of 0 means the idea is predicted to lose every time.”
Parts of this graph really just show face validity more than anything else. ASR and AJS come out clearly on top, with Social Forces a clear third, but with some gap between them (though per the definition of score, one should not over- or under-interpret the size of this gap – with 16 journals, a score of 77 could mean “loses to AJS and ASR every time, loses to Social Problems occasionally, and beats everything else” and wouldn’t really tell you much about the size of the distance between the top two and SF). In general, though, this is consistent with Fabio’s longstanding claim that in Sociology there are two gold stars (AJS/ASR) and no silver stars (but rather a large collection of bronze stars including SF, SP (with SF pulling away from SP), and the top specialty subfield journals).
The interesting bit to me – and the motivation to run the survey – was to see the placement of the two new OA journals, and to see if there was strong consensus on the regional society journals. Sociological Science and Socius are both shiny and new, but not so new as to have not formed reputations. Here, it looks like Sociological Science sits comfortably among the tier or subtier right below SF/SP along with the top European generalist journals, while Socius is near the bottom. Sociological Forum comes out on top of the regional journals, though behind the generalist European journals and Sociological Science. As a caveat, my sampling “strategy” may induce some artifacts – my networks are high on Sociological Science. Also, I just added Acta Sociologica (from a user suggestion) so its ranking may not be stable.
What do you all think?
UPDATE: Here’s the final spread, with over 10,000 votes cast. Not much change from the above. I have closed the survey.