I'm contributing to another open-source economics project, and was looking to compile a list of primary sources for modern developments in the field.

Basically something to help bridge the (occasionally decades long) time lag between what's taught at an undergrad/ introductory grad level and what's being researched in the field today.

Unfortunately as many in academia know, companies like Elsevier and others have most major publications locked up behind corporate paywalls, which makes them broadly incompatible with the principles of OSS/OSD.

There's Arxiv (and Vixra for the braver), but preprint servers are not really what I'm looking for. It's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff on many of them.

I'd like something with some editorial content, and especially peer-review.

I'd appreciate any suggestions.

  • It seems like for the most part, the answer is no (with a little qualification and some exceptions). But a lot of the time if you search for the paper, the pdf will come up in search results. (I mean, a lot of times the author will have it online somewhere.) Also, you can find a lot of working papers on SSRN before they're published. See here for a rough ranking of journals: ideas.repec.org/top/top.journals.simple.html – jmbejara Dec 6 '14 at 16:06
  • @Jason Nichols : just out of curiosity (if you don't mind), what is the other open-source economics project you mentionned? – Martin Van der Linden Jun 12 '15 at 14:30
  • sci-hub.cc? – Kenny LJ Jul 8 '17 at 14:04

10 Answers 10

Theoretical Economics (TE) and Quantitative Economics are two open access, peer reviewed journals. The former I know is of very good quality, arguably the top "field journal" in microeconomic theory.

  • Yes, when TE was launched the editors wrote an open letter committing to maintain the same editorial standards as JET. Both are now run by the Econometric Society, so are backed by a serious organisation. – Ubiquitous Dec 6 '14 at 8:58

The American Economic Association's Journal of Economic Perspectives can be accessed free of charge. It is definitely a reputable outlet (articles are mainly solicited from top economists), although it tends to publish original syntheses rather than primary research.

Review of Economic Analysis
appears to be a respectable attempt (although I cannot tell about quality). It is peer-reviewed, and published by a private Italian - Canadian non-profit (with a lot of Greek names involved I have to point out), but it appears to have strong academic ties (for example, its Editor-in Chief, whose name I recognized since it so happened that I have read a paper of his).

Again, I just found out about the journal, and I have not an opinion about the quality of the submissions, but it appears worthy to dedicate some time to explore its contents.

The Brookings Papers on Economic Activity is non-paywalled, highly-regarded, and is among the top economics journals in citation metrics (RePEc ranking of #13).

I wanted to add two more journals focused on game theory, market, and institutional design :

These are new journal (the second is planning its first issue sometimes in 2016) but they are managed by serious people and are likely to become good references.

The Economic Bulletin is (among other things) an attempt to provide an open access alternative to Economics Letters. For authors, it has the additional advantage of not requirering submission fees (as Economic Letter does).

I don't know in details the extent of editorial content in the Economic Bulletin, but there is definitively some. I am far from a regular reader, so I wouldn't dare to judge of its quality.

Ivo Welch at UCLA started the Critical Finance Review (CFR). (I post this maintaining that finance is a subset of economics.) From the website,

The CFR publishes leading academic research in all areas of financial economics. It is a high-prestige peer-reviewed free “boutique” journal. It only publishes 5-10 papers per year, but with paper quality comparable to the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, and Review of Financial Studies.

The journal has a focus on critiques (see here) and replication. Many well respected authors have published papers in it and I think most people would agree that they like what the journal is trying to do.

Part of this question is "What is a a reputable economics journal?" There are several rankings.

RePEc was mentioned above. Since this is based on citations and the RePEc database, especially when it comes to citations, is far from comprehensive, I would not rely on this too much.

Thomson Reuters Social Science Citation Index is another source (that itself is not open access).

The above mentioned Elsevier has a service Scopus that ranks journals and also lists open access ones. As you see in the complete list there are many non-English-language open access economics journals and the ranking changes quite a bit according to what score you choose.

2017
Journal    CiteScore  SJR  SNIP
----------------------------------
ClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research    2.18  0.861  1.003 
Theoretical Economics    1.97   5.511   2.203
Judgment and Decision Making     1.89   1.491   1.255
Wine Economics and Policy    1.78   0.539   1.658
Quantitative Economics    1.73  3.742   1.655
Review of Development Finance    1.30   0.452   1.787
Borsa Istanbul Review    1.02   0.372   1.276
Economics and Sociology    1.01     0.617   1.091
International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy    0.98    0.503   0.628
Agricultural and Resource Economics Review    0.93  0.400   1.030
IIMB Management Review    0.90  0.227   1.308
China Journal of Accounting Research    0.90    0.278   0.803
Agricultural Economics (Czech Republic)    0.89     0.553   0.933
Regional Studies, Regional Science    0.82  0.231   0.732
Agris On-line Papers in Economics and Informatics    0.65   0.344   0.916
Panoeconomicus    0.64  0.349   0.936
European Research on Management and Business Economics    0.64  0.236   0.557
SERIEs    0.58  0.304   0.754
REVESCO Revista de Estudios Cooperativos    0.54    0.216   0.643
Latin American Economic Review    0.54  0.258   0.852
Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Science    0.54    0.156   0.663
Review of Economic Perspectives    0.50     0.262   0.516
Journal of Economic Education    0.50   0.344   0.782
Croatian Economic Survey    0.50    0.145   0.617
Amfiteatru Economic    0.48     0.250   0.427
Economics    0.46   0.256   0.414
Universia Business Review    0.44   0.169   0.332
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences    0.43   0.219   0.403
IZA Journal of Labor Economics    0.43  0.428   0.348
Revista de Economia e Sociologia Rural    0.40  0.227   0.687
Asian Academy of Management Journal of Accounting and Finance    0.40   0.158   0.502
Latin American Journal of Economics    0.39     0.152   0.232
European Journal of Government and Economics    0.38    0.246   0.301
Journal of Applied Economic Sciences    0.37    0.199   0.416
Investigaciones Regionales
0.37    0.159   0.555
Zbornik Radova Ekonomskog Fakultet au Rijeci    0.35    0.157   0.352
IZA Journal of Labor and Development    0.34    0.182   0.510
Economic Annals     0.34    0.167   0.459
Revista de Economia Mundial    0.33     0.170   0.281
IZA Journal of European Labor Studies    0.32   0.200   0.449
IZA Journal of Labor Policy    0.31     0.182   0.213
Economy of Region    0.31   0.260   0.771
Danube    0.31  0.139   0.460
Contemporary Economics     0.31     0.141   0.379
South East European Journal of Economics and Business
0.30    0.169   0.145
Econ Journal Watch     0.30     0.184   0.287
Australasian Accounting, Business and Finance Journal    0.30   0.155   0.224
Revista de Economia Politica/Brazilian Journal of Political Economy    0.29     0.221   0.664
Revista de Metodos Cuantitativos para la Economia y la Empresa    0.28  0.205   0.491
Journal of Current Chinese Affairs    0.28  0.118   1.404
Economics Bulletin    0.27  0.199   0.306
Estudios de Economia    0.21    0.111   0.588
Revista de Analisis Economico    0.20   0.124   0.434
Electronic International Journal of Time Use Research    0.20   0.120   0.202
Economia Aplicada    0.19   0.152   0.552
Journal of Central Banking Theory and Practice    0.18  0.112   0.169
CESifo Forum    0.18    0.165   0.448
America Latina en la Historia Economica    0.17     0.136   0.598
Statistika    0.15  0.121   0.173
Business and Economic Horizons    0.14  0.106   0.163
Revista de Economia del Rosario     0.13    0.128   0.300
Revista Brasileira de Economia    0.12  0.165   0.355
Nova Economia    0.12   0.113   0.325
Estudos Economicos    0.12  0.120   0.398
Investigacion Economica    0.11     0.127   0.329
Cuadernos de Economia (Colombia)    0.11    0.124   0.254
Comparative Economic Research    0.11   0.105   0.116
Revista Contabilidade e Financas    0.10    0.111   0.203
Problemas del Desarrollo    0.10    0.121   0.295
Trimestre Economico    0.09     0.166   0.109
(and some others)

The German Economic Association in 2015 ranked the journals that were mentioned by others above from 0.05 (bottom) to 1 (top): Journal of Economic Perspectives 0.2, Theoretical Economics and Brookings Papers of Economic Activity 0.15, Journal of Economic Education and Economics Bulletin 0.1, and Games, Quantitative Economics and Review of Economic Analysis 0.05. Critical Finance Review was probably too new to be ranked at the time. Journal of Mechanism and Institution Design not included. In 2017 the ranking was updated to reflect changing impact factors over time and is now based on the Scopus SJR. That brought Journal of Economic Perspectives to 0.8 for 2016, Theoretical Economics 0.56, Quantitative Economics 0.54, Brookings Papers of Economic Activity 0.38, Journal of Economic Education 0.2, Games 0.05, Economics Bulletin 0.04, Review of Economic Analysis 0.025 (lowest ranking because not in EconLit), Critical Finance Review and Journal of Mechanism and Institution Design not included.

There are many further rankings, like the French CNRS Journal Ranking in Economics and Management June 2017 (1 top to 4 bottom: Journal of Economic Perspectives, Theoretical Economics, Brookings Papers of Economic Activity, Quantitative Economics all 1, Economics Bulletin 3. Review of Economic Analysis, Critical Finance Review, Games and Journal of Mechanism and Institution Design not included.

If you look at more restrictive rankings you'll not find many open access journals. Tilburg University only includes the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity and the Journal of Economic Perspectives in its 35 journals for the ranking of top economics universities as far as I see.

The Directory of Open Access Journals has 71 entries under "Subject: Economic theory. Demography" but some further economics journals are listed under different categories like Journal of Economic Education" under "Subject: Education: Theory and practice of education", and "Journal of Economic Development, Environment and People" under "Subject: General Works".

Plenty of journals which are not open access per se do publish some papers in an open access fashion. For example:

Open access articles in non-open access journals are those whose authors (or institutions) are willing to pay a fee to make the article freely available (e.g. see here).

Some publishers or site aggregators offer the possibility to search for those articles, e.g. ScienceDirect and Wiley.

I think the https://monthlyreview.org is a great journal about modern marxian economics.

  • 1
    This is paywalled. – luchonacho Sep 20 '17 at 8:01
  • And it does not seem to be a scientific journal. – denesp Sep 20 '17 at 8:37

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