The Association of Business Schools’ Academic Journal Guide 2015 assesses the quality of 1,401 business and management publications worldwide, based on citation scores and the judgements of leading researchers.
It is designed to help academics to make decisions about where they should seek to have their work published and to help deans to evaluate performance.
But some scholars complain that the guide has become too powerful in decisions on recruitment, promotion and salary review, and that as a consequence they are assessed only on where they publish, not what they publish.
In the latest edition of the guide, the award of the 4* “journal of distinction” accolade to 33 publications represents an increase since the last version, published in 2010, when 22 reached this grade.
However, since the previous issue encompassed only 823 titles, the proportion of journals considered 4* has declined, from 2.7 per cent to 2.4 per cent.
The new guide gives 85 journals (6.1 per cent) a quality rating of 4, meaning that they publish the “most original and best executed research”, compared with 72 (8.7 per cent) in the last edition.
Some 312 journals (22.3 per cent) were rated as 3, meaning that they publish “original and well executed research”, compared with 230 (.9 per cent) last time.
There were 481 titles (34.3 per cent) ranked 2, meaning they publish “original research of an acceptable standard”, and 490 in the bottom 1 category, classed as journals publishing work of a “recognised, but more modest standard”.
The guide divides journals into 22 different subject areas and judges economics to have the highest number of 4* journals, with six. Marketing had five, while accounting and general management had four each.
Geoffrey Wood of Warwick Business School and David Peel of Lancaster University Management School, the guide’s co-editors, say that they recognise that any attempt to differentiate between journals will “naturally be contentious”.
Writing in the guide’s introduction, they say that “exceptional scholarly work may be found in many places” but that it “tends to be clustered in particular locales and journals”.
“Identifying such locales is a difficult and fraught process, but we remain convinced that it is better that it is done through the involvement of scholarly experts and their associations than without,” the editors say.
Professor Wood told Times Higher Education that the guide aimed “to provide scholars with clear goalposts against which to aim for in seeking to progress their careers”.
“Although the guide is not intended to be fully inclusive, inclusion in the guide is an indicator that the journal should uphold high scholarly standards, and treat authors professionally and with respect,” he said.
The next edition of the guide is scheduled to be published in 2018.
For full coverage of the ABS journal guide, see this week’s THE
World’s elite: 4* journals in the ABS Academic Journal Guide 2015
- Accounting Review
- Accounting, Organizations and Society
- Journal of Accounting and Economics
- Journal of Accounting Research
Field: Economics, econometrics and statistics
- American Economic Review
- Annals of Statistics
- Journal of Political Economy
- Quarterly Journal of Economics
- Review of Economic Studies
Field: General management, ethics and social responsibility
- Academy of Management Journal
- Academy of Management Review
- Administrative Science Quarterly
- Journal of Management
- Journal of Finance
- Journal of Financial Economics
- Review of Financial Studies
Field: International business and area studies
- Journal of International Business Studies
Field: Information management
- Information Systems Research
- MIS Quarterly
- Journal of Consumer Psychology
- Journal of Consumer Research
- Journal of Marketing
- Journal of Marketing Research
- Marketing Science
Field: Operations and technology management
- Journal of Operations Management
Field: Operations research and management science
- Management Science
- Operations Research
Field: Organisation studies
- Organization Science
Field: Social sciences
- American Journal of Sociology
- American Sociological Review
- Annual Review of Sociology
- Strategic Management Journal