Skip to main content

International Relations

A guide to databases and scholarly web sites in support of research in international relations and foreign policy.

About Top Journals and Rankings

Graduate students and faculty submitting articles for publication; faculty seeking to bolster tenure applications; undergraduates interested in using the most authoritative analysis and data in writing research papers - all potentially have an interest in the highest ranked journals in their fields.  As a result, there are numerous lists and citation-based metrics attempting to provide guidance. Journal rankings are intended, not only to reflect the place of a journal within its field, but also indicate the relative difficulty of being published in that journal.

Many lists of journals are subjective, depending upon subject grouping choices (what journals are included in the field of International Relations?), but citation-based metrics have permitted more objective criteria across disciplines. Some commonly used citation metrics are

  • Impact factor – Reflecting the average number of citations to articles published in science and social science journals.
  • Eigenfactor – A rating of the total importance of a scientific journal according to the number of incoming citations, with citations from highly ranked journals weighted to make a larger contribution to the eigenfactor than those from poorly ranked journals.
  • h-index – Usually used as a measure of scientific productivity and the scientific impact of an individual scientist, but can also be used to rank journals.
  • Altmetrics – Rate journals based on scholarly references added to academic social media sites.

In addition to the two sources noted here (Google and the subscription-only Journal Citation Reports),  Harzing Publish or Perish Software  is a free software program that retrieves and analyzes academic citations. It uses Google Scholar and  Microsoft Academic Search to obtain the raw citations.

About Predatory Journals

"Is this new journal legitimate?"

Increasingly, this is a question important for researchers and scholars to ask and answer. 

Choosing where to publish

Additional sources that may clarify the publishing process and choices available to you include

BU LIbraries