Thursday, October 25, 2007

Australian conference/journal ranking

Why do Australian CS researchers create their own conference/journal ranking? If it is so important to rank conferences/journals why don't they use existing international rankings? Instead we are all allowed to suggest how a specific conference/journal should be ranked. With such a small set of CS researchers publishing in good conferences/journals the result is bound to be skewed to "personal favourites".

I actually took the time to try to re-rank some of the more obvious mistakes in the conference ranking a few months ago, but I never took the time to go through the journal ranking - big mistake. Today I looked at the Australian journal ranking and realised that there is not a single computational geometry journal on the list. Furthermore, Algorithmica, Journal of Combinatorial Optimization and many more theory journals are not on the list. Out of my 30 journal publications I believe 4 are published in a ranked journal! The quality of my publications is not great but still - four!!!

Of course most of us don't take this to serious...until it's time to apply for grants. It's not easy to work in CS theory here in Australia but we're not making it easier for us by ignoring the conference/journal rankings. I hope all Australian CS theory people will take a look at the ranking and propose changes to the list. Fill in the following form and submit to conference.rankings at (the same form/address is used for journals).

1 comment:

  1. Here is a thought about these rankings. the idea of these rankings is self-defeating in some sense. not sure if "self-defeating" is the right term but its the best i can do right now.

    i believe the following claim is true:

    "it is important to get these rankings right, only if they are insignificant"

    if the rankings are very important, just pick any ranking, somewhat close to reasonable, and it will eventually become correct, since people will follow it (since it is important for them). So any ranking is eventually correct and no need to put too much effort into it. This is a well known fact about the stock market for example, if a high-profile market research firm announces 'this stock will go up' then everyone runs to buy the stock and the price does go up. If a high profile research group publishes some new theory about how the stock market works, and people believe it, then they will start investing according to that theory and the theory will become true.

    If however the rankings are insignificant (in the big picture) then it requires lots of effort to get them right and lots of effort to maintain them. because there will be no correction step after they are announced.

    So the corollary is that the more insignificant the rankings are, the more important it is to get them right.

    It is very unlikely that the australian rankings will actually change the international conference/journal scene, since the research community is small.

    so it seems that a lot of effort needs to go into these rankings indeed.