In mid-January I wrote about the journal rankings compiled by the European Science Foundation and now the Australian Research Council has released their own rankings. The Australian ranking score is slightly different than the ESF list. The ESF list ranks journals either A, B or C while the Aussie list has four categories: A*, A, B, C. The ESF rankings highlight the fact that they are not necessarily judging the quality of the articles within the journals but rather “issues such as scope and audience” while the Aussie list explicitly ranks according to relative article quality (that is, relative to the other journals) according to the following scale:
A* (top 5%)
Typically an A* journal would be one of the best in its field or subfield in which to publish and would typically cover the entire field/subfield. Virtually all papers they publish will be of a very high quality. These are journals where most of the work is important (it will really shape the field) and where researchers boast about getting accepted. Acceptance rates would typically be low and the editorial board would be dominated by field leaders, including many from top institutions.
A (next 15%)
The majority of papers in a Tier A journal will be of very high quality. Publishing in an A journal would enhance the author’s standing, showing they have real engagement with the global research community and that they have something to say about problems of some significance. Typical signs of an A journal are lowish acceptance rates and an editorial board which includes a reasonable fraction of well known researchers from top institutions.
B (next 30%)
Tier B covers journals with a solid, though not outstanding, reputation. Generally, in a Tier B journal, one would expect only a few papers of very high quality. They are often important outlets for the work of PhD students and early career researchers. Typical examples would be regional journals with high acceptance rates, and editorial boards that have few leading researchers from top international institutions.
C (next 50%)
Tier C includes quality, peer reviewed, journals that do not meet the criteria of the higher tiers.
Some of the differences in rank of journals include:
- Journal of Biblical Literature–ESF: B; Aussies: A*
- Ancient Near Eastern Studies–ESF: B; Aussies: A
- Biblische Notizen–ESF: C; Aussies: B
- Jewish Quarterly Review–ESF: B; Aussies: A*
- Journal of the Study of the New Testament–ESF: B; Aussies A*
- Scottish Journal of Theology–ESF: B; Aussies: A*
- Semeia–ESF: A; Aussies: B
- Theological Studies–ESF: B; Aussies: A*
- Zeitschrift fur Althebraistik–ESF: B; Aussies: A*
- Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research–ranked by Aussies only: A
Generally, the Australian ranking is a bit more generous, however, some of the differences are due to the fact that the Australian list has four instead of three tiers. There are a few journals that one list covers that the other does not such as the Australian list includes the Journal of Semitic Studies while the ESF does not. Neither of the lists include journals that I find helpful such as the Bulletin of Biblical Research, Tyndale Bulletin, Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages, and Ancient Near Eastern Religions.
Since these lists have come out there will likely be more pressure for North American institutions to “empirically” rate the research of their scholars. This certainly goes on in an informal manner in hiring and promotion decisions but I bet committees will take these lists into consideration if they admit it or not.
So, if anyone is counting I have three articles published or currently in press–here is how they stack up:
- How Big was Nineveh? in Bulletin for Biblical Research–unranked journal
- Samson’s Last Laugh in Journal of Biblical Literature–ESF: B; Aussies: A*
- Allusions to the Stream of Tradition in Ancient Near Eastern Studies–ESF: B; Aussies: A
Maybe I have a shot at tenure in Australia…
What do you think about these two rank lists and how they will be used?