Theoretical and Interpretation Challenges to Using the Author Affiliation Index Method to Rank Journals

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Abstract

We formally review the Author Affiliation Index (AAI) method as originally conceived by David Harless and Robert J. Reilly from the Economics Department at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business and as subsequently developed and interpreted by Gorman and Kanet in their 2005 article. Through this formal review, we first highlight and discuss two important informational inputs that can impact the stability of the AAI scores for journals in any given set of to-be-evaluated journals. We then identify and challenge interpretations related to these scores (one theoretical, one statistical) offered by Gorman and Kanet that result in misleading conclusions about journal quality and that may potentially motivate inappropriate editorial behavior. For important professional decisions of hiring, performance evaluation, promotion, and tenure, we conclude by cautioning against sole reliance on the AAI method for ranking journals and against exclusive interpretation of the score computed via the AAI method as an indicator of journal quality.

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