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Anthropology Journals ranked by the ARC

13 February, 2010

The Australian Research Council has released its 2010 list of journals, ranked into four grades: A*, A, B, and C (with a few listed as ‘unranked’). The complete list can be accessed through the ARC website here, but it’s a large Excel file (5.27 mb). The list is part of an audit of university research initially proposed by the last government. As the ARC’s website explains:

The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative assesses research quality within Australia’s higher education institutions using a combination of indicators and expert review by committees comprising experienced, internationally-recognised experts.

The effort to compare and evaluate departments throughout Australia follows on the UK audit model which has affected university funding and even the viability of departments, as I understand it. It’s unclear what the full effect of the ERA process in Australia will be — well, unclear to me, I guess, although presumably there are people behind the effort with a clearer sense of how this will unfold.

I took the liberty of generating an ‘anthropology only’ version of the list, colour-coding the rankings to make it easier to scan through. I just thought I’d share it with our readers to generate some reflection; it’s saved here as a .pdf file for download, but I can send it to you as an Excel or Numbers file if you contact me.
ERA 2010 Anthro Journals
The next step for me, when I get a chance to look, will be to compare the list to citation frequency-based rankings of anthropology journals to see if there are any real surprises. A preliminary list was circulated in 2009, and some minor anomalies appeared on the original list, especially some journals that seemed to have grades that exceeded their impact according to most quantitative measures. Obviously, the division of all journals into four grades necessarily leads to some distortions, but some of the outliers appear to have been down-graded.

Dropped from the list entirely was the journal, Journal des Anthropologues, with which I am not familiar, but there were no journals added after the list was initially proposed. I’ve noticed a few journals that seemed to have changed rank since the list was initially proposed, but I haven’t yet done a real careful analysis of winners and losers. I’d love to hear what others think about this list as I’m still sorting through it, thinking of it both in relation to our discipline but also in relation to publishing plans for the next couple of years. It’s probably too late for the list to affect professional behaviour in a way that will affect the 2010 ERA, but these lists tend to take on a life of their own, including the fact that those highly ranked will now likely receive more Australian submissions.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Pascal permalink
    18 February, 2010 12:33 am

    At least one fairly important journal is missing from this list: Gradhiva, a French publication founded in 1986 by Michel Leiris and Jean Jamin.

  2. Rochelle Spencer permalink
    26 February, 2010 11:06 am

    HI Greg,

    This is such a useful resource and thank you for compiling it. I noticed that you haven’t included Third World Quarterly in your compilation and it is a journal used by many working in the field of Development Anthropology and Anthropology of Development.

    Thanks again,

  3. 26 February, 2010 11:10 am

    A couple I didn’t see in your Anthropology List:
    Historical Archaeology, which received an “A”
    International Journal of Historical Archaeology: received a “B”

    Obviously, I’m an historical archaeologist 😉

  4. gregdowney permalink
    26 February, 2010 1:45 pm

    Dear Rochelle —
    I didn’t include any journals that the ARC didn’t designate on their ‘anthropology’ list. None of this was my choosing.

    Indeed, as Terry points out in the next comment, a fair few strong archaeology journals did not wind up ranked, and museum-related journals also got short shrift. One of the people on the AASNet who checked out the list pointed out what seems to be a francophone bias, and another that area studies journals often didn’t get ranked at all, or given quite low gradings considering the frequency with which they have been cited.

    I don’t know if, how, or when this list might be up for review, but we should definitely be putting together a list of the missing, misgraded, and other inconsistencies. It always is so hard to remember the little niggling issues when suddenly these sorts of tables are put up for review.

  5. 27 February, 2010 8:02 am

    I echo Rochelle’s thanks. Nice to see Oz journals doing well with TAJA, TAPJA, Oceania and Social Analysis (strong Australian links) all receiving an A ranking.

  6. Darwin himself permalink
    24 January, 2012 11:23 am

    How the heck is Human Nature listed as a C journal?

  7. 2 February, 2015 3:13 pm

    Journal of Political Ecology is 70% anthropology, and edited from Australia. The ARC classified it as something else – environmental studies I think.


  1. John Burton analyses ERA rankings « Culture Matters

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