What are journal ranking lists?

An insight into journal ranking lists for editors

Introducing journal ranking lists

Some subject areas use journal ranking lists alongside other metrics, like Impact Factor or CiteScore, to help with monitoring journal performance. These rankings were originally created for the Business & Management community, but have since expanded to include a range of subjects, including:

  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Psychology
  • Education
  • Sociology

Increasingly, journal ranking lists are regarded as measures of excellence within the sciences, including:

  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Technology

Many different countries have their own lists that attempt to rank journals and institutions by quality, whereas others use some of the more well-known national lists to create their own versions. Some countries, including South Africa, Italy and Finland, also produce lists of approved journals across every subject.

Why use journal ranking lists?

Academic departments, such as business schools, use journal ranking lists as a way of measuring the quality and impact of what their faculty produces.

Authors often look at journal ranking lists when considering which journal to submit their work to.

What are the requirements?

Methodologies vary between lists, but most include an analysis of other metrics, such as Impact Factors and Scopus statistics, as well as consulting with key subject experts, university departments, academic societies and associations.

Journals can make applications for inclusion, or an improvement in ranking, when new iterations of the lists are being put together.

Ranking lists to look out for: 

Chartered Association of Business Schools (‘ABS’), UK: journal rankings go from 4* (highest) to 1 (lowest). Researchers in many UK institutions are strongly encouraged to publish only in journals ranked 3 and above. The current list was published in 2015 and the next list is currently due for release in the first quarter of 2018.

Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC), Australia: an interim review was released in 2016 in preparation for a full review to be set out in the foreseeable future. Journals rankings go from A* (highest) to C (lowest).

Verband der Hochschullehrer für Betriebswirtschaft (VHB), Germany: the most recent version (2015) is VHB-JOURQUAL 3. Journal rankings go from A+ (highest) to D (lowest).

Financial Times FT50 Research Rank, UK: the Financial Times newspaper in the UK has created a list of the top 50 journals across Business, Management, Economics and Finance. Publications from authors in these journals  inform the FT Research Rank of business schools and their MBA, Online MBA and EMBA programmes.

UT Dallas Top 100 Business School Research Rankings (‘Dallas List’), USA: updated annually, this uses a list of 24 key journals in Business, Management, Economics and Finance to rank business schools based on their research contributions. There is a North American ranking and worldwide ranking of institutions.

Journal ranking lists, like all metrics, have their advocates and their critics. Regardless, they are part of the landscape that determines how we assess research, so we cannot disregard them.

For more information on journal ranking lists please contact your Managing Editor at Taylor & Francis.