Developing a Core List of Journals in an Interdisciplinary Area: Implications for Academic Faculty and Librarians Demonstrated in the Business Literature

Article excerpt

Faculty who publish in interdisciplinary areas may be faced with the challenge of justifying research published in journals that are not considered important by their home department. This paper uses corporate governance (an academic area in business) as an example of an interdisciplinary research area. A core list of journals is developed using citations from Corporate Governance: An International Review, that demonstrates the interdisciplinary nature of corporate governance research. This core list can be used by both corporate governance academics and business librarians to help justify faculty publishing decisions. The process devised for developing a core list is applicable to other interdisciplinary areas. The paper concludes by exploring the implications of departmental journal lists and provides suggestions for both faculty and librarians.


An interdisciplinary field is one that combines the methods, conceptual frameworks, and knowledge of two or more disciplines to address questions that lie in the disciplinary nexus. Sustainability, African American studies, and neuroeconomics are all examples of fields that combine knowledge from different disciplines to answer specific research questions. Interdisciplinary fields pose challenges for both academics and librarians precisely because they are at the intersection of two (or more) disciplines. Academics who do interdisciplinary research may struggle with integrating their research and teaching into a traditional department structure. Librarians who support interdisciplinary fields may be faced with a subject area where the traditional methods for acquiring, accessing, and evaluating information do not apply. Librarians who provide resources and assistance to interdisciplinary scholars need to be diligent in defining the parameters of the field to ensure that they are adequately meeting scholars' teaching and research needs.

In this paper, the authors use citation analysis to determine the top-cited journals in Corporate Governance: An International Review (CGIR) from 1999 to 2008 and develop a core list of journals for corporate governance. The results demonstrate that corporate governance is an interdisciplinary field that relies heavily on the disciplines of accounting, economics, finance, and management for both publishing venues and intellectual underpinnings. The authors then compare this core list with a composite list from business disciplines, including the fields of management, accounting, finance, and economics, to determine the overlap of top journals in these fields and corporate governance. The process devised for developing a core list is applicable to other interdisciplinary areas. Finally, the authors discuss the implications of this research and its benefits for both corporate governance academics and librarians with collection management responsibilities.

Corporate governance is an academic area in business concerned with the relationships between corporations' boards of directors and various corporate stakeholders--investors, regulatory agencies, corporate management, and the public. At the most basic level, research in corporate governance explores aspects of agency theory--the relationships that arise when a principal (board of directors) hires an agent (corporate officers) to run a company on behalf of shareholders. (1) Agency theory explores how the agent and principal work together and the incentives and behaviors in place to ensure that agents act in the best interest of the principal. (2) Corporate governance research, then, involves the study of how a board of directors motivates corporate officers and verifies that they are acting in the best interests of the board and shareholders. The research cuts across disciplinary boundaries and includes topics in accounting (e.g., financial reporting), economics (e.g., theory of the firm), finance (e.g., executive compensation), and management (e.g., strategic planning). …


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