This study explores the extent to which an article's value or contribution can be proxied by the ranking of the journal in which it is published. Following an approach commonly applied in prior journal ranking studies, we obtained eight‐year citation counts for all articles published in 1992, 1994, 1996, and 1997 in nine accounting journals covered by the Social Science Citation Index®. For these four years combined as well as individually, we found that articles from the journals most often considered to be the top three (Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Accounting Research, and The Accounting Review) do tend to be cited much more often than those from the other journals. However, across three different criteria for defining top articles, there were substantial classification errors from using publication in a topthree journal as a proxy for an article's contribution. The same patterns were obtained for major accounting sub‐areas (e.g., financial accounting, auditing), and from a Google‐based citation search covering 20 accounting journals. These findings strongly support the need to evaluate each article on its own merits, rather than abdicating this responsibility by using journal ranking as a proxy for an article's value or contribution.

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