[Taxacom] Australian Research Council journal rankings

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Fri Mar 18 00:43:26 CDT 2011

If you haven't already done so, please take the time to register at


and comment on the Australian Research Council's ranking of systematics journals. Please also consider listing the Society of Australian Systematic Biologists as a peak body for evaluating each of your rankings. The deadline for public consultation is 4 April.

If you haven't read the full SASB/ARC correspondence through the SASB website (http://www.sasb.org.au/letters.html), the information provided below will give you the general idea. ARC refuses to accept that taxonomic publishing (in particular) doesn't fit the model for scientific publishing in fast-moving, competitive fields, or that Australian taxonomists can be 'globally eminent' and productive without publishing in A* and A journals. Nevertheless, they have included systematics journals in their rankings and assessed them by some mysterious process. Let's see what happens when systematists rank systematics journals.

Here are the rank descriptions:

Typically an A* journal would be one of the best in its field or subfield in which to publish and would typically cover the entire field/subfield.  Virtually all papers they publish will be of a very high quality.  These are journals where most of the work is important (it will really shape the field) and where researchers boast about getting accepted.  Acceptance rates would typically be low and the editorial board would be dominated by field leaders, including many from top institutions.

The majority of papers in a Tier A journal will be of very high quality. Publishing in an A journal would enhance the author's standing, showing they have real engagement with the global research community and that they have something to say about problems of some significance.  Typical signs of an A journal are lowish acceptance rates and an editorial board which includes a reasonable fraction of well known researchers from top institutions.

Tier B covers journals with a solid, though not outstanding, reputation.  Generally, in a Tier B journal, one would expect only a few papers of very high quality. They are often important outlets for the work of PhD students and early career researchers.  Typical examples would be regional journals with high acceptance rates, and editorial boards that have few leading researchers from top international institutions.

Tier C includes quality, peer reviewed, journals that do not meet the criteria of the higher tiers.

And here are the 2010 rankings of systematics journals:

Australian and regional outlets:

C  Australian Entomologist
B  Australian Journal of Entomology
B  Australian Systematic Botany
C  General and Applied Entomology
B  Invertebrate Systematics
n  Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens
C  Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand
C  Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia
B  Kanunnah
C  Memoirs of Museum Victoria
C  Memoirs of the Queensland Museum
C  Muelleria
C  New Zealand Entomologist
C  New Zealand Journal of Botany
C  New Zealand Journal of Zoology
C  Nuytsia
C  Pacific Science
C  Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
C  Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales
C  Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria
C  Raffles Bulletin of Zoology
C  Records of the Australian Museum
n  Records of the Queen Victoria Museum
C  Records of the Western Australian Museum
C  Species Diversity
C  Telopea
C  The Beagle
C  Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia
       (incorporating Records of the South Australian Museum)

Global outlets:
C  Acta Parasitologica
A  American Journal of Botany
C  Annals of Missouri Botanical Garden
C  Aquatic Insects
n  Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny
C  Biochemical Systematics and Ecology
B  Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
C  Blumea
A  BMC Evolutionary Biology
B  Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society
C  Brittonia
A  Cladistics
C  Crustaceana
A* Evolution
C  International Journal of Acarology
n  International Journal of Myriapodology
B  International Journal of Plant Sciences
B  International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology
C  International Journal of Tropical Insect Science
C  Journal of Arachnology
A  Journal of Biogeography
C  Journal of Crustacean Biology
A  Journal of Evolutionary Biology
B  Journal of Helminthology
C  Journal of Natural History
B  Journal of Systematics and Evolution
C  Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
C  Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
C Kew Bulletin
n  Marine Biodiversity
A  Molecular Biology and Evolution
A  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
C  Molluscan Research
C  Mycotaxon
C  Organisms, Diversity and Evolution
A  Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics
n  Phytotaxa
A  Plant Systematics and Evolution
C  Systematic and Applied Acarology
A* Systematic Biology
B  Systematic Botany
B  Systematic Entomology
C  Systematic Parasitology
C  Systematics and Biodiversity
A  Taxon
B  The Bryologist
C  The Lichenologist
n  ZooKeys
B  Zoologica Scripta
A  Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society
B  Zoologischer Anzeiger
C  Zoosystema
C  Zoosystematics and Evolution
C  Zootaxa

Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
Ph: (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570

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