Impact factors in Environmental Economics, Conservation and interdisciplinary environmental journals.

It is again that time of the year and the impact factors of journals are released by Thompson Reuters. I have compiled some of the journals related to environmental economics, then journals related to conservation and environmental areas and finally multidisciplinary journals. I have also estimated the number of articles per year given the impact factor and total citations. Here is how the environmental economics journals look:

Name Total cites Publications Impact factor
J ENVIRON MANAGE 11,875 3725 3.2
ECOL ECON 11,775 4678 2.5
FOOD POLICY 2,031 871 2.3
AM J AGR ECON 4,680 3434 1.4
AGR ECON-BLACKWELL 1,500 1382 1.1
AUST J AGR RESOUR EC 502 471 1.1
NAT RESOUR MODEL 309 295 1.0
J AGR ECON 925 950 1.0
CAN J AGR ECON 391 553 0.7
J AGR RESOUR ECON 570 1316 0.4

The Journal of Environmental Economics and Management has leapt first. I think overtaking Ecological Economics. At any rate, both are leading the group closely. The reason is the environmental/ecological side they present. This gives them an edge as it is well known that purely environmental or ecological journals have higher impact factors as they represent larger scientific communities. Nonetheless I find interesting that JEEM is leading given the more analytical nature of their publications, that tend to get penalized when it comes to citations.

The rest of the ranking makes sense with the AJAE leading the agricultural economics journals departing from the impact factor of 1 they tend to have.

Regarding numbers of publications Ecol Econs (sorry couldn’t get JEEM) and AJAE are carrying the bulk of them. It is thus laudable that they are leading despite of this.

This potpourri of conservation and environmental interdisciplinary journals looks like this:

Name Total cites Publications Impact factor
FRONT ECOL ENVIRON 5,362 637 8.41
GLOBAL ENVIRON CHANG 6,195 1033 6.00
CONSERV LETT 1,176 234 5.03
CONSERV BIOL 17,277 3999 4.32
ENVIRON RES LETT 3,525 862 4.09
BIOL CONSERV 19,784 4902 4.04
AGR ECOSYST ENVIRON 12,307 3842 3.20
AMBIO 4,738 1594 2.97
CURR OPIN ENV SUST 1,020 370 2.76
ANIM CONSERV 2,221 880 2.52
ENVIRON CONSERV 2,539 1094 2.32
ECOHEALTH 1,088 480 2.27
BIODIVERS CONSERV 7,589 3675 2.07
ORYX 1,814 948 1.91


Frontiers is expected to lead, nice papers and the extra citation edge that give opinion and review papers. Interesting how high appears Global Env Change, I think this reflects the increasing concern in the hot topics that are covered by the journal. Conservation letters appears to lead the conservation pack.

Just for the sake of comparison the multidisciplinary category appears like this:

Name Total cites Publications Impact factor
NATURE 590,324 13939 42.35
SCIENCE 537,035 17061 31.48
P NATL ACAD SCI USA 565,934 57695 9.81
J R SOC INTERFACE 6,525 1692 3.86
PLOS ONE 226,708 64151 3.53

It seems that Nature has left behind Science. PNAS continues steady and this is great given the super large volume of publications. I am a bit sad that Interface has dropped a bit in its impact factor. They do a great job at publishing interdisciplinary mathematical and life sciences papers. Perhaps they are penalized by their technicality. PLOS One resists with a high impact factor and again this is amazing given the 64k articles published.

At the end of the day impact factors are just a game and it is interesting to look at them. Nonetheless a good agricultural economics journal containing the best papers in its field will continue to have an impact factor of around one. This just shows how little relevance impact factors would have to this community.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts, I was just throwing some hypotheses to the trends observed.

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