A social network analysis of academic journals in public administration in the early twenty-first century: examining journal level bibliometrics with network analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study shows how network analyses, specifically whole network analysis, can be used to elicit network structures and identify subgroups in academic journal publishing in the field of public administration. To elicit the citation networks of the journals, we used social network analysis methods on the journal citations in the InCites Journal Citation Reports of the Web of Science (WoS) database at 4 time points: 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2020. We tested whether the citation networks had the characteristics of the small world network structure and/or a scale-free network structure. We found that the public administration citation networks became more centralized over time, while also becoming more clustered. Public Administration Review and the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory were consistently the most central journals in the networks over the years. The citations networks were also clustered. Particularly, public policy journals, which are classified within the “public administration” category in WoS, tended to be clustered together. We conclude that the public administration journal citation networks had both scale-free characteristics and small-world characteristics in the first two decades of the twenty-first century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6561-6588
Number of pages28
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences

Cite this