How Well Can Publication of an Article in a Top Accounting Journal Be Used as a Proxy for its Contribution?
37 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2006
Date Written: July 31, 2006
The study investigates the appropriateness of using publication of an article in a top (specifically, top three) accounting journal as a proxy for its quality, as reflected by its impact on others' research. This investigation is motivated by an apparent increase in pressures to publish in top journals, with attendant effects on the allocation of faculty and institutional resources and more broadly, the health of accounting knowledge advancement.
Following related prior studies, SSCI citation counts are used as the primary metric for gauging impact. Over eight-year event windows for articles published in nine accounting journals in 1992, 1994 and 1996, articles published in the journals most often considered to be the top three (Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Accounting Research, and The Accounting Review) do tend to be cited significantly more often than ones published in the other journals, though some of the non-top-three journals are not far behind. Far more important, across three different criteria for placing articles into top vs. non-top categories, there were substantial errors from using a top-three journal ranking as a proxy for quality. Many top accounting articles are published in non-top-three journals, at the same time that substantial numbers of non-top articles make it into the top three. Citations from a Google-based Internet search exhibited somewhat different patterns, but did not change these fundamental results. Together, these findings strongly support the need to evaluate each article on its own merit, rather than abdicating this responsibility by using journal ranking as a key proxy for quality.
Keywords: Journal rankings, faculty performance evaluation, citations, advancing knowledge
JEL Classification: M40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation