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Starry-eyed II: the logistics journal ranking debate revisited
In my previous ‘Starry-eyed’ paper (McKinnon, 2013), I questioned the principle and practice of journal ranking and discussed its effects on logistics research. Since then several important developments have occurred that have prompted this updated review of the issues. New literature on the journal ranking debate is reviewed. The validity of the journal ranking as a proxy measure of paper quality is explored using data from the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment. Changes to the ranking of ten logistics / supply chain management (SCM) journals in four listings are analysed and possible reasons for the relatively low status of the journals are examined.
Overall, the influence of journal rankings on the academic research process is strengthening while the debate about their legitimacy intensifies. UK REF data casts doubt on the reliability of the journal ranking as an indicator of a paper’s merit. Logistics/SCM journals continue to occupy mid-to-lower tier positions in most listings, though there has been some improvement in their standing.
This paper aims to alert those managing and undertaking logistics research to the dangers of over-reliance on journal rankings in the measurement of research quality and productivity. It may also help logistics/SCM scholars to defend the position of their discipline and resist journal-ranking-induced pressures to marginalise it and devalue its outputs.
I’ve written a couple of blogs on this theme:
The arguments advanced in this paper were originally summarised in a keynote address delivered to the annual conference of the Logistics Research Network in September 2015.
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