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In Defiance of Folly: Journal rankings, mindless measures and the ABS Guide

Dennis Tourish and Hugh Willmott

CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, 2015, vol. 26, issue C, 37-46

Abstract: In this paper we challenge the defence of the ABS Guide offered by its authors (Rowlinson et al.). We direct critical attention to its various uses, including as an inappropriate surrogate for assessing the quality of published work without it having to be read; the taking of decisions about which staff to include in research quality assessments, such as the UK's REF; and, its use by promotions and appointment panels within business schools. The Guide offers a one size fits all formula for estimating the quality of journal articles and journals. This approach disadvantages emergent journals and areas of interest. It contributes to a wider debasement of academic culture whereby business schools and academics are encouraged to over-focus on issues of status and league table positioning for their own sake, rather than address important issues of concern to our wider society. Consequently, we urge its withdrawal. Failing that, we suggest that it should be ignored by business schools, and regarded as a quaint but dangerous experiment that it would be wise to consign to our past.

Keywords: Journal rankings; Research assessment; Disciplinary authority (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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