Australia Ranks Over 20,000 Peer-Reviewed Journals

Australian Research CouncilThe Australian Research Council (a statutory authority within the Australian government) started their Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) program in 2008. Part of their mission was to assess research quality within Australia’s higher education institutions. To that end, panels of experts evaluated 20,712 peer-reviewed journals and assigned a quality tier to each journal. The results are now available as an Excel spreadsheet. The list is huge, and covers mathematics, economics, education, law, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, etc. Readers of this blog will probably be most interested in the Medical and Health Sciences category, which has 4,368 journals. Journals within each category, along with their quality tier assignment can be found in html format (Medical and Health Sciences are category 11 and its subdivisions), or you can sort the spreadsheet. A detailed breakdown of all the categories and subdivisions is available, but be aware this document is 424 pages.

Journals were assigned to one of four tiers, briefly described below. Complete definitions of the tiers are available.
A* –  one of the best in its field
A  –  very high quality
B  –  solid, though not outstanding reputation
C  –  journals that do not meet the criteria of the higher tiers

This extensive, evaluated list could be very useful for measuring the quality of a medical library’s journal collection. How many of your journals fall into each tier? When it’s time to cancel journals, those in the C tier could become prime candidates, depending on local usage. When a new program is started at your institution, this list would be helpful in quickly finding the top journals in that field. (While Impact Factors from Journal Citation Reports are helpful, that commercial product has far fewer titles than this list.) Let’s hope this program can maintain such a useful list into the future. Good on ya, Australia.

Please see the May 31, 2011 update on this post.


9 responses to “Australia Ranks Over 20,000 Peer-Reviewed Journals

  1. Thank you for this useful information. We are pleased to see that you like our journal (The Oncologist) as much as we do!

  2. Holy Smokes! All the Veterinary Clinics of North America were rated a C! That certainly makes me skeptical of these rankings. 😦

  3. What are the criteria? I don’t consider circular definitions to be terribly convincing. An A* journal has high quality papers. Based on what criteria? Works where most of the work is important– meaning what?

    I was incredibly excited by the news, much less so at the actual product.

  4. From what I can tell here , the ranked journal list was developed on the basis of expert review and public consultation. Several learned academies developed the initial rankings. These rankings were then reviewed, with feedback, by researchers. A public review period was then implemented, followed by a final review done by 700 expert reviewers in the various areas. I’ll admit it’s subjective, but the multiple reviews and input by large numbers of researchers give this list more credence than most other subjective lists.

  5. How does one apply to get on this list, i.e. what documentation do you need in place about your peer review process???

  6. Mick-

    I just reported on the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) Initiative, I have nothing to do with it. In looking around, I saw that another round of ERA is scheduled for 2012. Bookmark that page, and follow developments.

  7. Pingback: Australia abandons journal ranking initiative | Leaves A Mark

  8. Pingback: Rao and Reiley’s “The Economics of Spam” grossly understates the economic costs of spam. « Raz’s Blog

  9. Pingback: Rao and Reiley’s “The Economics of Spam” grossly understates the economic costs of spam. « Lost in Reception

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