Ranking law journals: a view from abroad

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3 Responses

  1. Daniel Solove says:

    Interesting list and rankings. I wasn’t aware of this, and it’s fascinating to learn how Australians view US law review reputations.

    Among US law reviews, I’d say the list would match what most legal academics in the US would think about 75-80% of the time, but there are some really odd anomalies in the list. Moreover, the gradation scale of A* through C is probably not stratified enough.

  2. Agreed, without knowing the full criteria being judged it is hard to acknowledge or criticise the grades.

    I also agree with the previous comment that grading A through to C doesn’t give a lot of room for scope.

    There may be use for a grading system but I think there is much work to be done before it is accepted as authoritative.

  3. Julie Clarke says:

    The ARC rankings are a disgrace. The majority of A+ and A journals are international (are they encouraging us to avoid consideration of Australian domestic legal policy issues in favour of assessing issues with foreign law and policy?)and generalist journals.

    Some disciplines fair better than others for no obvious reasons. Professional journals are generally downgraded to B and C with the result that if you want your research to reach those with the power to influence in your field (ie, if you want to have a genuine social impact) then you really should be publishing in a B or C-ranked journal (the C’s contain very highly regarded professional journals as well as some dodgy newsletters) but if you want to keep your job or stand a chance at promotion you’re better off publishing in a generalist student-run journal university journal unlikely to be read by your peers in your field.

    On top of all that some journals simply aren’t ranked at all – new journals and international discipline specific journals that the creators of the list somehow managed to miss, simply gain you no credit at all.

    And the bar keeps changing – there have already been a couple of different list and publications produced before any ranking system existed are being retrospectively upgraded or (more commonly) downgraded – academics widely considered skilled and active researchers are in some cases being re-classified as ‘research inactive’ because publications they produced prior to the existence of the journal ranking system have now been classified as ‘C’ and effectively do not count at all.

    We can only hope that enough institutions fight back to get the issue on the political agenda in Australia – the current system will re-focus research offshore (to the detriment of Australian domestic legal issues), cause massive delays for publication in A and B ranked journals as more academics fight to publish there and will see the utter collapse of many (currently valuable) professional journals due to poor classification. Drastic change is required.