Competition law journals lose out in ARC journal rankings
Posted by Julie Clarke on 29 January 2009
The ARC has accepted the ranking of law journals proposed (reluctantly) by the Council of Australian Law Deans and it’s not good news for competition law academics – particularly if your research is focused on domestic competition law. With a top ranking of A+ and a bottom ranking of C, here is how the key business and competition law journals fared (Australian journals appear in red and the more general business law journals (I have only included a few) in green):
Nope, nothing here …
American Business Law Journal
Antitrust Law Journal
Journal Of Business Law
Australian Business Law Review (seriously!)
Competition and Consumer Law Journal
European Competition Law Review
International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law
Journal of Competition Law and Economics
World Competition: Law and Economics Review
(842 journals in total get this ranking)
Antitrust Law and Economics Review
Australian and New Zealand Trade Practices Law Bulletin
Business Law Review
Competition Law Journal
Competition Law Review
Contract Law Journal (my other passion …)
European Business Law Review
European Competition Journal
Global Competition Review
International Business Law Journal
International Business Lawyer
Trade Practices Law Journal (yes, publishing here now ranked just as highly as publishing in the ANZTP Bulletin)
The generalist journal rankings appear slightly less contentious (although seriously, Australian Law Review and Australian Bar Review both get a C ranking?) but discipline specific journals seem to have been pulled from a hat (a lucky hat for some – rejoice if your research interests involve feminist, tax or even property law (human rights and philosophy also fare well)).
I particularly enjoyed the comment of one UK professor who declined involvement in the ranking process, who concluded that the list led him to admire CALD’s “collective willingness to make enemies”.
Nevertheless it seems we are stuck with it. The consequence must be that instead of publishing in Australian professional journals likely to have the most impact on law and policy in Australia, competition academics must look primarily to US or European journals if they wish their research to have any value with their Institution or the Australian Research Council; to do this requires a shift in focus domestic issues to international or comparative issues. This is clearly valuable – to a degree – but given the wave of competition reform we are currently experiencing in this country, any arbitrary ranking which pushes our focus from research into appropriate domestic competition policy should be discouraged.
Alternatively, of course, we can aim for the generalist university journals; most of the A+ journals are US or European and would not publish Australian competition law articles; in Australia we only really have the Melbourne Uni Law Review, Sydney Law Review or Uni of NSW Law Journal if we want a top ranking. If prepared to settle for an A there’s ONE other Australian university journal (plenty of foreign ones though) we can add to the list: the Monash Uni Law Review. Coming in with a B ranking we can aim for a few more Australian law journals (inc two Go8 Uni journals): the Adelaide Law Review, Flinders Journal of Law Reform, the Griffith Law Review, the University of Queensland Law Journal, the University of Tasmania Law Review and the University of WA Law Review. Every other generalist Australian university law journal limps in level C, if at all.
There are some brilliant articles in the level C journals (and some poor ones in the A+’s). It’s a bit like equating a world renowned professor at a small or newer university (which might be favoured for location, size, speciality etc) with a first year associate lecturer at one of the leading – old – universities merely on the basis of their employer without any reference to the individual. It’s depressing. It’s discouraging. It’s simply wrong.