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Explicit and Implicit Subject Bias in the ABS Journal Quality Guide

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This paper addresses issues raised in two recent papers published in this journal about the UK Association of Business Schools' Journal Quality Guide (ABS Guide). While much of the debate about journal rankings in general, and the ABS Guide in particular, has focused on the construction, power and (mis)use of these rankings, this paper differs in that it explains and provides evidence about explicit and implicit biases in the ABS Guide. In so doing, it poses potentially difficult questions that the editors of the ABS Guide need to address and urgently rectify if the ABS Guide seeks to build and retain legitimacy. In particular, the evidence in this paper shows explicit bias in the ABS Guide against several subject areas, including accounting and finance. It also shows implicit bias against accounting and finance when comparing journal rankings in sub-areas shared between accounting and finance and the broader business management subject areas.
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Keywords: ABS Guide; British Accounting and Finance Association; Thomson ISI; explicit bias; implicit bias; journal quality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Responsible Banking & Finance,School of Management, University of St Andrews, The Gateway, North HaughSt Andrews,KY16 9SS, UK 2: School of Management, Royal Holloway,University of London, Egham,Surrey,TW20 0EX, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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