The “Top 20 publications. . .” according to Google!

I am fascinated with academics’s (including my own) obsession with measuring the “impact” or “importance” of journals. Traditional methods are clearly flawed. And time will tell to what degree open access journals begin to change this by focusing more on readership than citations.

But Google Scholar just came out with their new lists which of course got my attention! You can use different search terms to come up with different rankings of “top publications.” For instance, when you search “education” you get the following ranking. I find a few things interesting about this:

  1. Even when searching “education” and not “educational technology” (or a variation of the term), three of the “top 20 publications for education” are educational technology related journals–with Computers & Education in the number one spot and the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET) in the number five spot.
  2. For the past 10 years, I have been taught that Educational Technology Research and Development (ETR&D) is the most prestigious journal in my field. But according to Google and a number of other rankings, ETR&D is far from the top ranked journal. I am curious how this might have changed over time or if in fact Computers & Education has always out ranked ETR&D.
  3. These rankings obviously change over time but it is interesting that there are not any open access journals in this list of the top 20 publications for education.

“Top Education Journals”
Google Scholar Education Ranking

I then was curious whether I could drill down further and investigate the ranking of “educational technology” publications. And guess what? Well, the list changes. Now Computers & Education isn’t even listed (even though it is clearly an “educational technology” publication) and BJET and ETR&D come up in the first and second spot. Also, Educational Technology & Society — an open access journal comes up in the number three spot.

“Top Educational Technology Publications”
Google Scholar Ranking of Edtech Journals

Well my curiosity got the best of me and I had to keep searching. This time I decided to search for “instructional technology” and “instructional design.” But both of these searches went no where. I then searched for “online learning” and then “elearning” and came up with the following lists (which of course differ).

“Top Online Learning Publications”
Google Scholar Image of Online Learning Search

“Top eLearning Publications”
Google Scholar search for elearning

I always find it interesting which journals make these lists and which one’s do not. I especially find it interesting how one’s search terms (e.g., education vs. educational technology) dictate the overall ranking one finds! Search carefully my friends!

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