Journal Rankings — Useful? (guest post by Thom Brooks)

Journal Rankings — Useful? (guest post by Thom Brooks)


The following is a guest post* by Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government at Durham University’s Law School, founding editor of the Journal of Moral Philosophy and blogger at The Brooks Blog.


Journal Rankings — Useful? 
by Thom Brooks

I’ve benefited enormously from much invaluable advice over the years that has fed directly into my Publishing Advice for Graduate Students and The Brooks Blog’s Journal Rankings for Philosophy.

The journal rankings scored philosophy journals according to several criteria. These included their ERA rankings from the Australian Research Council, the European Science Foundation’s ‘European Research Index for the Humanities‘, a Leiter Reports ranking conducted by Brian Leiter at his blog, and The Brooks Blog’s survey of 140 philosophy journals and 36,000+ votes.

Some readers will know that my Brooks Blog’s journal rankings bring these different metrics together. Most assessed journals at around the same time so were generally current and most journals were mentioned on several, if not all, these metrics as well. I then divided journals by tier starting with A* (incl. Ethics and Philosophical Review), A (incl. Analysis and APQ), B (incl. Journal of Moral Philosophy and Philosophers’ Imprint), C (incl. Erkenntnis and Review of Metaphysics) and the unfortunately named ‘N/a ranked’ (incl. Metaphilosophy and Philosophy Compass). Full information on how the different lists were scored (with links) and the journal rankings can be found here.

Much time has passed and things have changed. The metrics used nearly 5 years ago are already outdated. There are new journals to consider, such as the APA’s fine journal, and I suspect that a new vote would lead to several changes in how journals are positioned.

I have two questions for readers and I’d greatly welcome feedback. The first is whether such a rankings is useful. I know there are strong opinions on both sides, but unsure what support there is for an updated list.

My second question is—if such a ranking is worth having—whether I should re-launch an updated poll that asks readers to choose the better of two options (and allows repeated votes as different journal pairs are considered) or whether I should release a survey monkey asking readers to rank journals 1 to (at least) 150. The problem with the first option is some will register their preferences much more than others, but the second option may be too unwieldly given the large number of journals around. But maybe it’s not worth doing. Or is it? I’d be very grateful for your comments.

(image: detail of “Counting Radiation X” by Megan Hildebrandt)

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