Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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SSCI (Web of Science) strikes again

The annual impact factors from the SSCI for journals have been published early in the fourth week of June and the chattering has already begun among those who follow these things.

As readers know I have a love hate relationship with these sorts of rankings of influence. Of course the big story of the year is how AOS’s two year impact factor fell greatly and the arrival of Management Accounting Research (MAR) on the scene as the fourth most impactful journal in accounting according to the two year impact factor.

There is so much at work here, I am going to attempt to put it into perspective as part of the big picture. First, let us look at the entire list of accounting related journals on the SSCI. This will become very important in understanding what is going on here. Second, in the following days I will discuss what we can learn from looking at the full list and what it portends for the future. In the mean time, enjoy!!!!

Abbreviated Journal Title Total Cites Impact Factor 5-Year
Impact Factor
J ACCOUNT ECON 4681 2.724 4.679
J ACCOUNT RES 4302 2.384 3.387
ACCOUNT REV 4924 2.267 3.028
MANAGE ACCOUNT RES 935 2.125 2.29
ACCOUNT ORG SOC 3272 1.672 3.588
REV ACCOUNT STUD 944 1.379 2.007
CONTEMP ACCOUNT RES 1668 1.263 2.18
INT J ACCOUNT INF SY 268 1.219 n/a
ACCOUNT AUDIT ACCOUN 1361 1.188 n/a
ACCOUNT BUS RES 229 0.957 1.283
J BUS FINAN ACCOUNT 1212 0.914 1.246
ACCOUNT HORIZ 853 0.881 1.377
AUDITING-J PRACT TH 951 0.861 1.453
EUR ACCOUNT REV 653 0.84 1.555
ACCOUNT FINANC 526 0.746 0.983
J ACCOUNT PUBLIC POL 733 0.547 1.205
ABACUS 278 0.4 0.699
AUST ACCOUNT REV 164 0.381 0.55
J INT FIN MANAG ACC 140 0.278 0.622
COMPTAB CONTROL AUDI 41 0.258
SPAN J FINANC ACCOUN 84 0.22 0.297
ASIA-PAC J ACCOUNT E 46 0.152 0.093

Plus Critical Perspectives on Accounting will appear in 2015

Finally, the AAA retracts

well it is official, almost all of Jim Hunton’s academic record is based on fraud!  The AAA today retracted almost every article he published in an AAA journal except for four articles where the co- author had collected the data, normally as part of their dissertation!

I anticipate CAR, JAR and others will soon be joining in!  By the time it is all over Hunton will make the list of top ten authors retracted according to the numbers at retraction watch!  

What is so amazing about all this is how long it has taken.  By April 2013 when I left the CAR editorship I was on the verge of issuing notes of concern on all Hunton’s CAR articles!  The evidence collection did not take long and the fact pattern was clear!  Yet, Two of those articles still have not been retracted or even noted at CAR!  I still wonder if it all would not have been swept under the rug given that I am the only person on the record that made an official complaint to Bentley University about this matter in December 2012!

Critical researchers and the mainstream rankings

I learned by way of an retracted email that Critical Perspectives on Accounting (one of the top three critical journals albeit they would not describe anything that denotes hierarchy as being appropriate) has been admitted to the SSCI (Social Sciences Citation Index sometimes called the Web of Science). The editors had a sense of humour about it that is often lacking in accounting research – they wrote an editorial critiquing their decision to submit themselves to this form of “disciplinary power” that is created by this multi-national corporation – Thomson Reuters. Further, they skewer some of the pretensions of those of the “critical variety” who condemn activities leading to global warming while jet setting around the world to academic conferences to condemn it. Hopefully they all buy carbon offsets but no doubt that too can be subject to critical analysis.

So folks welcome to the world of what you have called “performance.” Use your new power well!!!

Thanks for at least having the sense of self to acknowledge the inherent contradiction in CPA entering an establishment index. Heck, maybe this will help the careers of some critical scholars or would that be too instrumental?

Hopefully the editors at CPA (Marcia, Christine and Yves – two of whom I consider friends and one a friendly acquaintance) take this welcoming note in the spirit intended and do not think I am “attacking.” After all, I might some day submit a paper to CPA!

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