The Dynamics of Researcher Journal Quality Perception and Ranking Divergence
53 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 29, 2018
We explore the drivers of researchers' perceptions around academic journal quality, and how these perceptions converge or diverge with rankings through a large-scale survey of UK business school researchers. Our survey was conducted in advance of the release of the new Academic Journal Guide (AJG) rankings list in early 2018, and resulted in 19,997 individual journal rankings. There is a notable journal quality perception gap in these rankings with 42% of the subjective rankings differing from the AJG 2018 rankings. We find that personal and institutional demographics are major baseline drivers of the presence of such a journal quality perception gap. Of particular additional importance is a researcher's connection to, and investment in, the AJG system of ranking. Individual journal past experiences, such as being a reviewer or having submitted to a journal, are also linked to ranking divergence and especially higher perception of journal quality compared to actual journal rank. Our research thus provides new insights into how researchers interact with journal ranking systems in light of their own perceptions of quality. We propose how the key stakeholders in journal rankings; business schools, journal editors, ranking bodies, and the business and management community can incorporate these findings to ensure coherency between individual, school, and national assessments of research quality.
Keywords: Academic Journal Guide; Journal Ranking; Research Excellence Framework; Research Publications; Journal Quality; Quality Perception Gap
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