Ranking SCM Journals: ABS Academic Journal Guide 2015
Note: The following blog post is about an older version of the Academic Journal Guide (“ABS list”). The 2018 AJG is discussed in another blog post (follow this link).
The UK-based Association of Business Schools (ABS) has published its Academic Journal Guide. It is the successor of the often criticized Academic Journal Quality Guide. And this is how the new Guide ranks supply chain management journals: The only grade 4* (“excellent”) journal is: Journal of Operations Management. Other “top journals” (grade 4) are: International Journal of Operations & Production Management and Production and Operations Management. Examples of “highly regarded” journals (grade 3) in the list are: Journal of Supply Chain Management and Supply Chain Management: An International Journal. Some other “well regarded” journals (grade 2) are: International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Journal of Business Logistics and Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management.
Given the low grades of some journals with high impact factors and considering their reputation in our field, I am not convinced of the quality of this new ABS list. For example, in spite of its reputation as a leading SCM journal and its higher impact factor, ABS ranks JBL two (!) grades lower than IJOPM. Another ranking, VHB-JOURQUAL, seems to reflect the theoretical and methodological breadth of our discipline much better – maybe because it is based on the opinions of several hundred business researchers rather than an expert panel like in the case of ABS. However, qualitative rankings like ABS and JOURQUAL can be a good supplement to quantitative rankings based on impact factors.
But always keep in mind that journal rankings have a downside and should not be used as criteria for judging a researcher (they can only be used for judging a journal, in fact). I fear that the new ABS ranking will serve as exactly such a criterion in many business schools now. Isn’t the quality of our own articles a much better criterion than the average quality of all articles published in a journal (including the very bad and very good ones)? But this would require the members of an appointment committee to read what the candidates have actually published – maybe too much of an effort? And, if paradigm shifts often start in low-ranked journals, should our incentive system really prevent us from publishing in journals with ABS ranks below 3?