On October 11, 2013, the faculty unanimously approved the following revised journal ranking system for the Grossman School of Business:

  1. Place each academic journal in four ranking tiers: Top Tier (Grade 4); Second Tier (Grade 3); Third Tier (Grade 2) and Fourth Tier (Grade 1).
  2. Utilize the following criteria for placing a journal in a given ranking tier:
    • Top Tier (Grade 4) - A journal will be ranked in this tier if:

    • Second Tier (Grade 3) - A journal will be ranked in this tier if:

    • Third Tier (Grade 2) - A journal will be ranked in this tier if:

      • i. the journal is ranked Grade 2 on the most recent version of the ABS Academic Journal Guide, OR
      • ii. the ranking is justified by reference to three or more different independent sources.
    • Fourth Tier (Grade 1)

      • i. the journal is ranked Grade 1 on the most recent version of the ABS Academic Journal Guide, OR
      • ii. the journal is listed as a peer-reviewed journal in Cabells.

Journal Ranking Challenge and Evaluation Process

On February 28, 2014, the faculty unanimously approved (with one abstention) the following Journal Ranking Challenge and Evaluation Process for the Grossman School of Business:

The purpose of the proposed Journal Ranking Challenge and Evaluation Process is to provide a mechanism through which individual faculty can present evidence to challenge a journal’s existing ranking tier or initiate the ranking of an unranked journal.


  • Not all applicable journals are included in the ABS list, and none of the lists obtained thus far from FT 100 universities include journals ranked in tiers 3 and 4 (several FT 100 lists include only a single tier, sometimes comprising only the FT 50 journals). Thus, especially for journals in ranking tiers 3 and 4, a process is needed to challenge existing rankings and add new journals that do not rely solely on ABS, FT 50, and journal ranking lists from FT 100 universities.
  • Some sub-disciplines and “niche” research areas where there are relatively few faculty working (nationally and/or internationally) are not adequately covered / represented by ABS, nor by the lists obtained thus far from FT 100 universities. For example, journals that publish real estate or tax research are not well represented in these lists. In such cases, a process is needed for faculty to present a case for ranking and adding new journals to our list.
  • All journal rankings are imperfect and affected by some level of subjectivity inherent in any ranking exercise. This includes ABS and the lists from FT 100 universities. Other legitimate ranking sources may exist and

faculty should be able to draw upon such sources when appropriate to refine our list.

Faculty wishing to challenge a journal’s existing ranking tier or wishing to add a new journal to our list should compile as much compelling and recent evidence as reasonably possible to support their position. Such evidence might include, but is not necessarily limited to:

  • Comparative tiered journal rankings from multiple aspirants and/or widely recognized high-quality research universities outside of the FT 100 that have a graduate-level focus in the associated discipline or sub-discipline area.
  • Comparative tiered journal rankings by multiple highly ranked universities in an AACSB discipline.
  • Multiple published journal articles that evaluate or rank journals based on various quality or prestige metrics.
  • Other documented evidence relating directly to how a specific sub-discipline or niche area evaluates journal quality or prestige, other than journal lists.

It is the responsibility of the individual faculty member making a challenge or journal addition to collect, organize, document, and present a preponderance of evidence that supports their case. All challenges and additions must be formally documented and submitted in writing, including the rationale and all associated evidence and corresponding sources. We understand that some sources may be more dated than others and encourage the use of recent / timely sources to the extent possible. Faculty should be able to clearly explain why they are challenging the existing ranking. While it is not the purview of this subcommittee to rule on exactly what may constitute an unacceptable rationale for challenge, we strongly advise against challenges based on comparisons made to FT 50 journals – for example, arguing that a particular ABS 2nd tier journal should actually be counted as top-tier because there is a comparable ABS 2nd tier journal that is currently in the FT 50.

Members of the FSC will review all challenges and requested journal additions, while having discretion to involve all or some subset of the FSC members in conducting these reviews. All members of the FSC will have opportunity to review all documented challenges and additions, discuss each case, and then vote to either: 1) accept the challenge or journal addition as submitted, 2) request clarification and/or additional support information from the submitter, 3) offer a counter ranking recommendation for the submitter to either accept or reject while having opportunity to provide their rationale, or 4) reject a submitted challenge to an existing ranking tier.


At its meeting of November 19, 2014, the Faculty Standards Committee approved the following challenges/additions to the GSB Tiers.

Top Tier (Grade 4)
Real Estate Economics

Second Tier (Grade 3)
Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics
Journal of Real Estate Research
Journal of Urban Economics
Journal of Property Research
Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management
Journal of Sustainable Real Estate

Third Tier (Grade 2)
Journal of Housing Research
International Real Estate Review
Appraisal Journal
Journal of Corporate Real Estate
Journal of Property Investment & Finance
Journal of Real Estate Literature
Journal of Real Estate Practice & Education
Land Economics
Real Estate Finance
Regional Science and Urban Economics
Urban Studies