Dr. Mariann Hardey

Digitally on.

Speaker, Writer, Academic.

Durham University Lecturer.

I do stuff for the BBC.

Feminist & lovely.

Slanguage of social media

not body building abs

July 2013

Reader's to this blog will know that I am long time based at the University of Durham and situated within the Business School.  The academic academy at present is rather pre-occupied with their/our very noun-of-thorns-based 'Research Excellence Framework' REF. For those of us positoned within 'Business', we have a cunning list - the Association of Busines Schools (abs) that helpfully ranks 'all' the journals that have the most impact and research relevance.  These are ranked in starred* form from 0-4*'s.

Advice that was given to me when I first started out as a lecturer, followed this line; "IF you want to be a 'proper academic', you had better be publishing only in those journals that are 3* and above." Helpful advice (up to a point). Certainly an element of truism to it. Moreover, these words were voiced by someone considerably senior and more experienced than myself. Someone whose muster I respect a lot, although neither of us 'gets' the others research, or motives I expect.

Other lurvely journals such as Information Communication and Society, 1*; Marketing Theory, 2*; New Media & Society, unlisted(!) are (we are strongly advised), not worthy of our attention or words, and must be neglected in favour of the 3* and above nominated counterparts.

Now I'm not against playing the academic game here - within reason. I have just finished writing a paper about young women's  reactions to commercial content through digital social platforms.  I'd like this to go to a Gender-framed and business publication. Gender and Society looks nice, but this is not I am sad to say included on ABS.  Other gender or women based journals also do not make the cut.

However, ABS reliably informs me that there are two (!) Gender-framed 'acceptable' journals - these are Emerald's Gender in Management a 0* (so if we follow the advice of my learned friend, not a strategic place for any article to end up); the other is Wiley's Gender Work and Organisation 3* (lurvely) - however I do note that GWO is (I think you'll agree dear reader) totally unsuitable for a paper that has nothing to say about 'Management' or 'Org' studies.

On reflection, and I want to be as balanced as possible, I have two questions:
1. WHY are there only two Gender-based journals out of the whole ABS ranking list? (and shame on me for not noticing this before) - but perhaps to have 'only' two subject-based journals is not uncommon?;

2. [related to the above] rather than a 'gender-based journal', should this paper goes under the abs listings of Sociology that are 3* and above...

By asking no.2. I feel that I have in part answered my question.

But the relativity / relationship of question no. 2 to no. 1. worries me. Considerably.

As academics we are fortunate to receive support from our collective peers. I am lucky to be at an institution that not only encourages the progression of ECR's, but allows them to explore and be exposed to a wealth of research. In my experience, no other university has been so effective for the cross-pollentation of ideas.  In doing so,  I hope that such a climate will also encourage a better exposure of women's literatures and perspectives in the associated business rankings and that in the future will also be included on the holy list.

As an aside, I note crucially that the ABS ranking is edited by a four-man-only crew. TheAdvisory Panel Members consists of 14 nominated experts, where two (both from Marketing) are women. So there is a presence and inclusion at least. My thanks goes to you Professor Margaret Hogg (Lancaster, Management School) and Professor Christine Ennew (Pro VC Nottingham).

Yes, these are leaders in their fields, but please could we also have a more balanced voice or input of equally professional women?

Perhaps in time for the next REF cycle...