Development Studies Journal Ranking Table

The following represents a first attempt at a “league table” for development studies journals.

Rank Journal Citation Score
1 World Development 6.04
2 Journal of Development Studies 4.90
3 Oxford Development Studies 4.06
4 Development Policy Review 3.20
5 Studies in Comparative International Development 2.40
6 Sustainable Development 2.39
7 European Journal of Development Research 1.90
8 Development and Change  1.89
9 Information Technology for Development 1.58
10 Information Technologies and International Development 1.55
11 Journal of International Development 1.46
12 Development 1.33
13 Third World Quarterly 1.30
14 Public Administration and Development 1.21
15 Development in Practice 1.03
16 Progress in Development Studies 0.88
17 Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries 0.81
18 African Development Review 0.79
19 Gender and Development 0.58
20 Enterprise Development and Microfinance 0.45
21 Canadian Journal of Development Studies 0.45
22 IDS Bulletin 0.40
23 Information Development 0.37
24 Forum for Development Studies 0.17
25 Journal of Third World Studies 0.11
  Comparator Journals  
  Journal of Development Economics 10.90
  Human-Computer Interaction 4.06
  Environment and Planning D 3.42
  Information Systems Journal 2.89
  The Information Society 1.64
  Mountain Research and Development 0.91


– Selection was on the basis of development studies journals that appear in various other tables or lists.  However, development economics journals (inc. Economic Development and Cultural Change, Journal of Development Economics, Review of Development Economics, and The Developing Economies) were not included.  If you have suggestions for additions (or deletions), then let me know.

– Citation score is calculated by taking papers published in each journal in 2008 and identifying how many times each paper is cited in Google Scholar.  The average number of cites per paper was then divided by the average number of years since publication.  Very roughly, then, the score equates to average number of GS citations per paper per year.

– All papers published in 2008 were used if less than 20 were published; a sample of at least 20 building outwards from the mid-year issues was used if more than 20 were published.

– One anomalous paper, with over 10 times the citations of any other (a pattern not seen in any other journal), was omitted from African Development Review.  Had this been included, ADR would place seventh.

– This exercise will be repeated and expanded in future years.  What is presented here should only be seen as a first, fairly rough-and-ready set of figures.  The original data used for the calculations can be found here.


– The raw figures shown here should not be compared with the impact factor scores under Planning and Development provided in ISI’s Journal Citation Reports.  The rankings can be compared.

– Different disciplines have different citation habits and norms.  Specifically, if economists cite more highly, then those development studies journals that include a greater proportion of development economics papers may gain a greater overall citation score.

– Conversely – and requiring further investigation – in compiling the figures, I got some sense that papers in special issues tend to receive fewer citations.  Journals that have a lot of special issues may receive a lower overall citation score.


– These average figures provide no guidance on whether your individual paper would be cited more highly if published in one journal or another.  However, the rankings could be used to provide guidance or evidence on the general impact of a selected journal.  (Of course recognising that overall impact is about more than just citations.)

– The figures suggest that, beyond the obvious top two of JDS and World Development, there may be some mismatch between previous subjective ratings and actual impact.  For example, Oxford Development Studies and Development Policy Review rank 3rd and 4th here, yet are unrated by most other journal rating schemes.

– There is a moderate mismatch with the ISI JCR 2008 impact factor ranking.  Most notably, four of the top ten journals here do not appear at all in the ISI list including the two top-cited ICT-for-development journals.

Other Data

– The table below gives details of other ranking and rating data on development studies and some development economics journals.

High->Low Aston 2008 (4->0) CNRS 2008 (1*->4) Ideas 2010 (/731) SJR 2010 (/118) WoK 2010 (/43) ABDC 2010 (A*->C) ABS 2010 (4->1) SoM 2010 (4->1) Heeks 2010 (/25)
African Development Review       65 43     2 18
Canadian Journal of Development Studies       78 42       21
Development     666 28         12
Development and Change 2 2   15 19 B 2   8
Development in Practice       32         15
Development Policy Review     270 10 8       4
Economic Development and Cultural Change     117   24 A 3 4  
Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries                 17
Enterprise Development and Microfinance                 20
European Journal of Development Research     438 48         7
Forum for Development Studies                 24
Gender and Development       73         19
IDS Bulletin       70 37       22
Information Development                 23
Information Technologies and International Development                 10
Information Technology for Development                 9
Journal of Development Economics     43   36 A* 3 4  
Journal of Development Studies 2 2 152 2 26 A 3 4 2
Journal of International Development 1 3 292 22   B 1 1 11
Journal of Third World Studies       86         25
Oxford Development Studies     192 58       1 3
Progress in Development Studies       30         16
Public Administration and Development       62 39 A 2 2 14
Review of Development Economics     129 26 32     1  
Studies in Comparative International Development       23 31 A     5
Sustainable Development       9 11       6
The Developing Economies     474   35 B      
Third World Quarterly   2   29 30 A 2   13
World Development 3 1 134   9 A 3 3 1
High->Low Aston 2008 (4->0) CNRS 2008 (1*->4) Ideas 2010 (/731) SJR 2010 (/118) WoK 2010 (/43) ABDC 2010 (A*->C) ABS 2010 (4->1) SoM 2010 (4->1) Heeks 2010 (/25)

– ABS – UK Association of Business Schools:

– Ideas – citation data from RePEc project of paper downloads: (economics and finance research)

– SJR – Scopus-based citation ranking: (development journals)

– SoM – Cranfield School of Management:

– WoK – 2008 impact factor in ISI Journal Citation Reports under Planning and Development

– All other data from Harzing’s Journal Quality List:

20 thoughts on “Development Studies Journal Ranking Table

  1. A couple of queries have come up.

    First, why is EDCC not included? My rationale – it says it’s a journal of development economics (albeit multidisciplinary); the editor and all the board are, as far as one can tell, economists; and a sample of 20 articles all had equations in them! However, for completeness, its current citation score would be 5.68. (

    Second, what about the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities. Arguably that should be included. It gets a citation score of 1.11, which would place it 15th in the table. (

    1. Dr. Heeks:

      How did you find/ calculate the Impact Factor for the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities. I couldn’t see it directly on that journal web link you post above. I have published in that journal and am desperately trying to find such statistics to report to the (very picky) research committee of my college.

      Thanks in advance for any information you have on this.

      Denise Stanley, Associate Professor of Economics,
      California State University-Fullerton

      1. The basis for citation score calculation for the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities is the same as for all the other journals listed – “Citation score is calculated by taking papers published in each journal in 2008 and identifying how many times each paper is cited in Google Scholar. The average number of cites per paper was then divided by the average number of years since publication.” These are all calculations I did myself – they do not appear on the journals’ own web sites.

  2. Hi Richard, following up on my previous comment, I have used your criteria as the basis to define a sample of 7 of the top development journals. Thought you might find it interesting

  3. Dear Richard
    Thank you for your important work. I have a question nonetheless. If the criteria for score is the number of quotations in google scholar why not also include journals written in languages others than English. Certainly, there is also an important scholarly tradition at least in French, Portuguese and Spanish, really influential in shaping development practice all over the world. Check for instance the Revista Española de Desarrollo y Cooperación
    Thanks again,
    Noe Cornago

    1. Thank you for that suggestion. I guess the answer is that the target audience for the table was English-speaking academics, but I agree we could also expand the process to be more global and inclusive.

    1. That’s helpful. Choosing, journals and just ‘development studies’ as a discipline, the CERES lists as A rank the following from my list: Development and Change; Studies in Comparative International Development; Sustainable Development; World Development (plus Disasters, JDE, Studies in Comparative Development and World Bank Research Observer).

      B rank are: African Development Review; Canadian Journal of Development Studies; Development Policy Review; European Journal of Development Research; IDS Bulletin; Journal of Development Studies; Third World Quarterly (plus some economic- and environment-specific journals and some that look to conflate with child development).

      C and D ranks are much longer and contain many of the remaining journals listed above.

      Weirdly – unless I missed it – Journal of International Development isn’t on their list. D’oh.

  4. I was wondering how you defined a “development journal”? were there certain criteria that these journals had to satisfy? i know for example, scholars that publish development-related work in journals such as antipode (human geography journal) but this journal isn’t considered a development journal.

    1. As you say, development studies scholars publish in more journals than those listed; and development-related work can be found in hundreds of journals, but I wanted to select journals which focus on development studies. I used identified development studies journals from other lists which included Web of Knowledge (as it then was) and SJR/Scopus. I think I may also have looked at journal titles and aims/objectives if I was unsure. So, for example, Antipode is excluded because its focus is “radical geography” not directly or majorly focusing on development studies.

  5. Thanks for all your work on this! Has the picture changed since this was first compiled in 2010? It might be interesting to compare every 5 years or so.

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