Musings on Accounting Research by Steve
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The ranking evidence as I see it

I made up this little graphic to summarize how I see the evidence about journal rankings. The number column just shows the rank in each of the following sources

  • SSCI – Social Science Citation Index (the granddaddy of them all),
  • Google Scholar
  • SJR : Scientific Journal Rankings
  • N/R not included in the ranking source

Also think about the FT 50  where one would say JAR TAR and JAE would be ranked 2 as they were all added the same year, AOS 4 as added three years later, CAR as 5 as added six years later and RAST as 6 being voted in via a ballot exercise immediately after CAR was added by consensus.

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13 A* – really. A pity. Only in Australia you say#

According to the Australian Deans of Business Schools there are now 13 accounting journals that are high impact on worldwide accounting research! Furthermore there are another 30 A level journals! 43 in total! In other words about between 25% and 35% of all accounting research journals get an A. Two words “grade inflation”!

But I guess as we relax standards for our students, we should also relax standards for our research???? After all, how many C’s and D’s have you given students lately!

In the end it is the individual paper in the stream of papers that are produced in an area that determines real impact, not some highly politicized process like the recent ABDC exercise was! It’s a bit of a pity, as those Aussie Deans used to do a good low profile consult, get a reasonable list in accounting that one could proudly say represented the diversity of high quality accounting research. Now in my books they are like the opposite extreme of the UT Dallas list of 23 top business journals that only contains the American Three accounting journals!

Oh well, the average is probably about right with a fair bit of right skewing!

( For my friends at CPA, this is a clear miss by the Aussie Deans – ain’t no way you can have 13 A* journals and not include one of the top ten most cited journals in the world in it! But no doubt the CPA editors will like it as it oppresses them like they like to be! 😁)

#The headline of this is a take off on the Canadian red rose tea commercials whose long time tag line was ” available only in Canada, pity!”

One, two or three experiments in one paper

Over my time as an accounting academic I have seen lots of trends in accounting research. Capital markets readers probably recognize the era of the “toy model”, where every capital markets paper had to feature some linear algebra! (Yep this actually occurred in the late 1990’s in partial response to the Feltham Ohlson work on accounting valuation models!)

In experimental research ( in the 1990’s when auditing was the main area of experimental research) we had a two experiment minimum that by the early 2000’s became one experiment with exactly the right subjects/participants to do the task. Experiments in the 1980’s tended to feature three or more experiments depending on whether you counted the 3a and 3b experiments as one or two!

Today we are in the era of an single experiment plus a mediation or moderation model often done using the Preacher and Haynes macro! But I am beginning to sense this era too is passing, that while models are still invited, we are slowly seeing the norm move back towards the multi- experiment paper. While this observation is still somewhat tentative, I think I am spotting a new trend.

But did you ever wonder WHY? Is it merely a matter of taste? Mimicking? Or I something deeper at work?

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