journal rankings

Mark Allon mark.allon at USYD.EDU.AU
Mon Oct 1 11:09:24 UTC 2007

Thank you to those who responded to my posting regarding journal

As all of you noted, such a ranking system is seriously flawed. However,
this is being introduced in Australia and we have to respond and
influence the outcome. We will resister our concerns and attempt to
ensure that the "lists" are as comprehensive and as "reasonable" as
possible (although I know this will have many shortcomings). For this
purpose, if any of you have links to such documents already in place
(e.g. the Norwegian one mentioned by Lars), that would be helpful.


Dr Mark Allon
Department of Indian Subcontinental Studies
University of Sydney

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Indology [mailto:INDOLOGY at] On Behalf Of Dominik
>Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 11:57 PM
>Subject: Re: journal rankings
>I'm sure I'm not alone in watching with anxiety the growth of
>in science publishing of journal ranking and "impact factors" such as
>citation counts.  At the same time, many of us feel relief that these
>mechanisms have not yet had any major effect on our field.
>One can understand why bureaucrats are interested in these features,
>to some extent we are all affected.  Some journals do appear to have
>circulation and impact than others.  It's an easy argument to win that
>circulation = importance.  But the counter-argument is that this leads
>the famous Wildean definition of a cynic, as the man who "knows the
>of everything and the value of nothing".  After all, the biggest
>circulation publication in Britain (BY FAR) is the racist,
>sexist, sensationalist Sun ("FREDDIE STARR ATE MY HAMSTER"): but would
>want that measure to be used in assessing the work of universities?
>Lars has also quite rightly stated some of the dangers and deleterious
>side-effects of this type of metrication.  The under-valuing of
>third-world journal publications is a chronic and reasonably
>widely-recognised problem.
>All this is yet another example of the reach of the audit culture over
>academic matters.  And this in itself is a sign that finance and
>decision-making are now almost completely controlled by a separate
>of people who are not deeply educated in the matters that they
>Lacking the training to come to informed decisions about scholarly
>matters, they do require some criteria by which to get a grasp on what
>they control, and hence the rise of the audit culture.
>For those who may not know it already, there was a fine analysis of
>of these issues by a couple of anthropologists published in 1999:
>Audit Culture and Anthropology: Neo-Liberalism in British Higher
>Cris Shore; Susan Wright
>The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 5, No. 4.
>   Dec., 1999), pp. 557-575.
>Stable URL:
>This article stirred up controversy, and discussion continued in the
>of the JRAI in later issues.  I recommend it strongly if you haven't
>it already.
>Dr Dominik Wujastyk
>Senior Research Fellow
>University College London
>On Tue, 25 Sep 2007, Lars Martin Fosse wrote:
>> Such ranking is used at the university of Oslo (and also other
>> universities, I believe). It applies not only to Indology etc. but to
>> subjects taught at our universities.
>> The ranking system is incredibly annoying, because publishing in the
>> journals gives higher prestige and more money in the till. This means
>> less illustrious journals, where e.g. Indologists might like to
publish as a
>> matter of solidarity og good academic politics, easily get
marginalized. I
>> had to deal with this nonsense when I was lecturer in Oslo a couple
of years
>> ago, and I found it extremely exasperating. It is another
>> attack on scholarly independence and good common sense.
>> When you apply for a job, the locus of publication should in
principle not
>> matter. But when you apply for research money, or your department
does, it
>> does matter. Avoid such ranking at all costs!
>> Lars Martin Fosse
>> From:
>> Lars Martin Fosse
>> Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
>> 0674 Oslo - Norway
>> Phone: +47 22 32 12 19 Fax:  +47 850 21 250
>> Mobile phone: +47 90 91 91 45
>> E-mail: lmfosse at
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Indology [mailto:INDOLOGY at] On Behalf Of
>>> Mark Allon
>>> Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 5:58 AM
>>> To: INDOLOGY at
>>> Subject: journal rankings
>>> Dear Indology list members,
>>> Australia is attempting to adopt a ranking system for
>>> journals so that our publications and academic output can be
>>> "graded" (with consequences for university funding). If any
>>> of you know of such rankings currently in place for journals
>>> relevant to Indology, Buddhist Studies, and Asian Studies,
>>> please let me know.
>>> Regards
>>> Mark
>>> Dr Mark Allon
>>> Department of Indian Subcontinental Studies
>>> University of Sydney
>>> Brennan MacCallum Building A18
>>> Sydney NSW 2006, Australia
>>> Phone 02-93513891; fax 02-93512319

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