Ranking of Tax Journals – the Way Forward
Australian Tax Forum, Volume 24, Number 3, 341-371.
31 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2015
Date Written: September 1, 2009
This paper is concerned with the ranking of academic tax journals. The project started as a response to the former federal government’s Research Quality Framework (RQF). The RQF has now been replaced by the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative which, in many ways, is not unlike the RQF. As part of the ERA initiative, the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) and the Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD) all have released their lists of journal rankings. These lists include tax journals. The ranking of tax journals by the ARC and the ABDC are broadly similar.
The ARC’s and the ABDC’s ranking of tax journals are controversial and are not supported by Australian tax academics. There are omissions and inconsistencies. Most importantly, their ranking methodologies appear to be ad hoc, so it is virtually impossible to assess their validity. Most of the ranking problems seem to arise from the facts that tax research is multidisciplinary and tax issues tend to be country-specific. Thus, treating tax as a sub-discipline of accounting, finance or law and ranking tax journals with accounting, finance and law journals will invariably produce unsatisfactory and inconsistent results.
This scoping paper is part of an ongoing project on ranking of tax journals conducted by university researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds. Its principal aim is to derive an objective, rigorous and practical framework for ranking tax journals. The approach takes into account the multidisciplinary and country-specific nature of tax research. The methodology involves a mixture of surveys of tax academics’ perceptions of the quality of tax journals and assessment of impact based on citations. The proposed framework will be implemented with a view to generating a reliable and defensible ranking that would be accepted by the majority of tax researchers in Australasia.
Keywords: Tax journals, journal ranking
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