Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Google scholar h5 indices for English language bioethics/health care ethics/medical ethics journals

I suspect I could have had this easier, but be that as it may, I searched for bioethics/health care ethics/ medical ethics journal on google scholar to see how they fare in terms of citations over the last five years. I'm afraid the list isn't quite complete as for some reason at least one well-known quality publication, the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, just doesn't pop up. I'm under no delusion that citations do not equal quality, but I do think it is noteworthy that the journal 'Ethics' in particular doesn't do terribly well in terms of uptake of its content. At least if you take its stellar reputation into account. It is possible that ethicists need longer than 5 years before they can respond adequately to the papers published in Ethics, or that a deluge of citations is hidden in monographs and anthologies, disproportionate to the other journals on this list that is, but it's also possible that few of those who praise Ethics do actually anything with its content. I think it is also noteworthy that OA journals seem to have it a tad bit easier to rack up citations. My views about pay-for-play journals are well-known, I won't repeat them here.

Quite possibly the below table will be displayed in odd ways on your screen. If it is, don't hesitate to give me a shout and I'll send you a pdf.

Usual CoI blurb applies. I co-edit two of the journals in this list.
List up-dated Nov 16, 2014.


                                                                                                          H5 index*            H5 median**

Journal of medical ethics                                                                             29                           40

American Journal of Bioethics                                                                    26                           33
Nursing Ethics                                                                                                25                           32

Bioethics                                                                                                         23                           34
Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics                                                         23                           31

Ethics                                                                                                              19                           29

Hastings Center Report                                                                               18                           33
BMC Medical ethics                                                                                     17                           27

Neuroethics                                                                                                   17                           21
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy                                                   16                         23
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine                                                16                         22
Health Care Analysis                                                                           15                        28
Journal of empirical research on human research ethics: JERHRE   14                           24
Nursing Philosophy                                                                                      14                           24
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy                                                     14                           18
Journal of Clinical Ethics                                                                              13                           18
Developing World Bioethics                                                                       12                           20

Public Health Ethics                                                                                     12                           17
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics                                                          12                          17

Cambridge Quarterly of Health Care Ethics                                             11                           14

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry                                                                       11                           14
Indian Journal of Medical Ethics                                                                 10                           11

Asian Bioethics Review                                                                                  9                            35
International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics                    8                             12

American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research                                     8                              11

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law                                               5                             10
Christian Bioethics                                                                                          5                              7

Monash Bioethics Review                                                                             5                              7
Journal international de bioethique/
International journal of bioethics                                                                5                              5

Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics                                         4                             17
National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly                                                         3                              4

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics                                                                       2                              5
Turkiye Klinikleri Journal of Medical Ethics-Law and History                  2                              4


*h5-index is the h-index for articles published in the last 5 complete years. It is the largest number h such that h articles published in 2009-2013 have at least h citations each

**h5-median for a publication is the median number of citations for the articles that make up its h5-index



  1. Here's one that should be on the list, but possible isn't classified by Google as either bioethics or philosophy:

    Health Care Analysis 15 28

  2. Another one:

    Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 14 18

  3. Possibly also qualified:

    Nursing Philosophy 14 24

  4. Hi Udo and all! The KIEJ is excluded from google because we don't publish quite enough papers - we come in just below their cut-off of 100 papers per 4 years. We are penalized, I guess, by our quarterly schedule and our preference for publishing longer papers. What a shame! I am looking into having the h5 number hand calculated.

    Cheers and thanks for doing this,
    Rebecca Kukla
    Editor-in-Chief, Kennedy Institute for Ethics Journal

  5. Thanks Christian. I've up-dated the list according to your input. Rebecca, thanks for trying to get your hands on your h5-index. Don't sweat it if it's too much of an effort. :). udo

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  7. Here are the top 240 articles in bioethics and top 50 journals in bioethics based on citations, including metrics on some journals not included in previous lists because they don't reach the cutoff point in articles per year for Google Scholar to make their calculations.

  8. I followed up with an expanded comprehensive journal analysis for the field of bioethics. You can view it here: top 100 journals in bioethics.


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