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A ranking of the most QCA-friendly journals: some observations

Posted 7/10/2015

Regardless of whether they want to publish methodological work on QCA or applied work that uses QCA for the analysis of the data, researchers of every scholarly hue often face the tough question of where to submit their papers.

Ideally, the journal should be ranked among the top group in the respective field and be open towards the application of QCA. Often, however, the wish is father to the thought on the latter criterion, and some who have otherwise a great piece of research to offer waste many weeks or months of their precious time to only be rejected on flimsy grounds at the end, be it because the method is the editors' or at least one of the reviewers' pet hate, because QCA is not known to the editors and/or reviewers, because it is not considered a proper "method" or regarded as not being interesting enough, or whatever reason (my last submission of a QCA article to the journal Political Science Research and Methods was desk-rejected because one of the editors reasoned that my piece was much too close in its argument to that made by Hug (2013), which I should have had a look at before submitting...this is the kind of highly-competent editorial decision every researcher wishes for ;o) [if you don't know what I'm being ironic about here, see my list of publications and the blog entry "Rejoinder to Hug's reply in Qualitative & Multi-Method Research 12(2):24-27"]).

To help you, the reader of this blog entry, avoid some of the same hard-learnt experiences I made, I have compiled, based on the data I have been collecting for COMPASSS since 2012, a ranking of the most QCA-friendly journals across the entire group of journals that have ever published QCA-related research ("friendly" here refers to the absolute number of QCA articles published so far under the condition that at least four articles have already been published as of 7 October 2015). I have made a distinction between methodologically-oriented journals and those with an applied focus, and to give you an idea as to the first criterion of target journal selection mentioned in the preceding paragraph, I have also added Thomson Reuters' Journal Citation Reports ranking for the various categories that a journal is listed in (if that in fact matters to you at all).

At the very top by an enormously large margin is the Journal of Business Research. What is also remarkable is that five methods journals feature prominently in this table (Sociological Methods & Research, Quality & Quantity, the International Journal of Social Research Methodology, Field Methods, and Political Analysis). A last notable observation is that many of the very top applied journals of certain disciplines are present, such as the American Journal of Sociology and the American Sociological Review (category Sociology), Global Environmental Change (categories Geography, Environmental Studies and Environmental Sciences), Policy Sciences (categories Planning & Development, Public Administration and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences) and the Academy of Management Journal (categories Business and Management).

A note of caution. Other journals may now be equally "friendly" towards QCA, or not be so friendly anymore as they used to be. This is, of course, not reflected in this ranking. But if you submit to any of the journals listed in this table, the risk that the method is one of the main reasons for rejection should be relatively low. 

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