Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

The Readability of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Journals: An Empirical Analysis

Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

The Readability of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Journals: An Empirical Analysis

Article excerpt


What characteristics make an entrepreneurship or small business journal good, bad, or mediocre? The present study proposes an objective approach, ranking journals by readability as measured by the Gunning Fog Index. The technique was applied to samples of academicand practitioner-oriented entrepreneurship and small business journals. The results indicate that there is a strong relationship between readability and acceptance rates. In addition, the findings indicate a significant difference in readability based on primary audience.


What attributes contribute to a journal's standing in the greater academic community? Is it the number and caliber of innovative ideas that are proposed, the rigor of the methods developed, the educational background required to comprehend, the journal's stated and actual acceptance rates, or the depth and breadth of its editorial board? While there is no universally accepted answer, this is an issue that is salient to college and university tenure and promotion committees.

Institution and anecdotal evidence suggest that all of these attributes contribute to some extent to a journal's standing in its discipline. In some institutions of higher learning, committees are formed to rank, rate, and develop classification schemes for journals, conference proceedings, and other publication outlets. These committees typically rely upon some combination of published acceptance rates and perceived academic reputation to categorize a journal as an "A," "B," or "C." Unfortunately, except for the discipline's premier journals, these ratings are seldom consistent from one university to another and are typically biased by the publication records of the committee members.

The ranking of journals in the field of entrepreneurship and small business is made more complex because there is no dominant professional association and corresponding journal which publishes research that defines the domain of entrepreneurship and small business scholarship. MacMillan (1989,1991) suggested a possible solution to the dilemma with an intrainstitutional ranking of entrepreneurship journals based on the aggregation of subjective perceptions of a forum of well-published, established entrepreneurship researchers. While this idea has significant merit, it still lacks an overall measure of objectivity.

An alternative solution would be an analysis of a journal's readability, which provides a degree of objectivity in the assessment of a journal's level of academic rigor. Readability is an objective measure, and anecdotal evidence suggests that rigor and readability are not identical constructs. There is a logical and intuitive relationship between an article's readability and its rigor as perceived by the members of an academic discipline.


The purpose of the present study is to propose an objective classification scheme for the ranking of journals that publish entrepreneurship or small business research. The journal will be ranked by an objective assessment of the readability of those periodicals that publish articles pertaining to issues facing small businesses or issues related to the art and practice of entrepreneurship. Readability measures of a selected article from each journal will then be compared to the journal's academic standing as measured by (a) its published acceptance rates and (b) MacMillan's (1989,1991) subjective ratings (if applicable). A secondary purpose of the present study is to determine if journals that are published specifically for practitioners tend to be less sophisticated, as measured by readability, than journals that are published for academicians.


The literature and anecdotal evidence suggest the following hypotheses:

HI: Journals that have high readability scores will tend to exhibit low published acceptance rates.

H2: Journals oriented specifically toward practitioners will tend to have lower readability scores than journals directed toward an academic audience. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.