Academic Journal Guide 2024: a new evolution
The launch of the 2021 Academic Journal Guide marked the seventh iteration of the Guide, since its original development in 2007. Over that period the Guide has evolved significantly. Central to this evolution since 2011 has been a twin-track focus on firstly, enhancing the transparency of the methodology and assessment process, and secondly, strengthening the governance arrangements for the Guide, in particular improving the diversity and representativeness of the Scientific and Management committees.
However, the core principles and focus of the Guide have remained constant. In terms of underlying principles, the Guide has retained the original methodological approach of using peer evaluation, supported by journal metrics, as the basis for providing a robust assessment of the comparative standing of journals in the field of business and management. Equally, the purpose of the Guide has remained to provide academics in the field with robust quantitative data on the relative academic standing of journals to inform decisions on publishing their research. Looking ahead the commitment to such principles and purpose will remain core to the Guide as it evolves again to add further value to its users.
Given the changing research environment with the growing emphasis on practical impact, the increasing prominence of DORA (the San Francisco Declaration on Research Access), the move to open access publishing among multiple other developments, necessitate rethinking about how the Guide supports academics. In reviewing the future development of the Guide against such a backdrop, the Management Committee, working with the Editorial Team, has been exploring the how the Guide can provide increased information on key characteristics of journals to sit alongside the rating of the journal.
Consequently, it has been decided that alongside the metric and peer evaluation based ratings of journals, the range of information available on journals within the Guide will be radically extended over the next two publication cycles (2024 and 2027) in order to assist academics in navigating this evolving environment. It is anticipated that, subject to the availability of data from publishers, this will encompass:
- Editorial board composition (including diversity characteristics)
- Policy on number of reviewers
- Acceptance rates
- Average time from submission to acceptance
- Demographics of authors of accepted papers, such as nationality, gender, and their institution’s nationality
- Whether the journal invites/publishes interdisciplinary research
- Average % of non-business school authors published in the journal
- Charging structure of journal and open access policy
- PlumX Metrics or Altmerics (i.e. data on downloads, press & social media coverage)
This evolution is about providing qualitative information alongside the established quantitative ratings to assist academics in deciding where to publish. Given the truism that “what is measured matters”, a parallel objective is to nudge editorial boards and publishers to consider key aspects of how they operate. These additions are intended to encourage responsibility on the part of the publishers as much as supporting academics with a richer dataset.
As part of our enhanced engagement with the academic community, we will be consulting on the range of new data for future editions at our Annual Research Conference in London on 21 June. I hope you can join us.
As Chair of the AJG Management Committee, I cannot express sufficient thanks to the editorial team for the work they have undertaken over the years in developing the Guide as one of the leading, and certainly the most methodologically robust, journal guides serving the business and management community. I would like to pay tribute to Professors James Walker, Geoffrey Wood, Marc Goergen, Heinz Tuselmann, Andrew Simpson, and Neil Kellard for the contribution they have made in ensuring the robustness and credibility of the Guide. It is our responsibility as a community to continue to build on the work they have undertaken and to ensure that the Guide continues to serve the academic community.
Professor Angus Laing is Dean of Lancaster University and Chair of the Chartered ABS Academic Journal Guide Management Committee.