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Department of Management Meets the Editor with Professor Geoffrey Wood

The Editor of Academy of Management Perspectives and Human Resource Management Journal shared advice with researchers looking to publish in highly-ranked journals.

The Department of Management’s popular ‘Meet the Editor’ series has returned for the 2021/22 academic year, welcoming Professor Geoffrey Wood as its first guest.

Professor Wood is Editor in Chief of Academy of Management Perspectives (ABS 4*) and Human Resource Management Journal (ABS 4*, World Elite), Professor and DanCap Private Equity Chair of Innovation and Department Chair and DAN Management at Western University in Canada.

Opening the session, Chair Dr Muthu De Silva, Assistant Dean for Research in Birkbeck’s School of Business, Economics and Informatics said: “We are really grateful to Professor Geoff Wood for offering to speak to us. As you all know, our key aim is to bring all of you together to meet eminent editors which will help us to together thrive in our research journey. Geoff has published over 220 articles in peer-reviewed journals, so we are very much looking forward to hearing his advice today.”

Advice for researchers aspiring to publish in highly ranked journals

Professor Wood began his presentation with some key advice for researchers:

Editors love novelty, provided that it is within the scope of the journal.

For example, the Journal of Finance is more conservative in terms of theory and methods, but open in terms of choice of topic, while the Academy of Management Journal prefers novelty in terms of theorizing.

Highly ranked journals care about how you calibrate your data.

This includes the scale of the study, for example how in-depth a survey goes, the number of interviews conducted and the quality of data sets.

It pays to do your homework: a journal’s purpose may not be obvious from its title.

In a message echoed from previous Meet the Editor events, Professor Wood gave the example of the Journal of Human Resources, which takes economics papers, to illustrate that it is worth doing some research to ensure your study is right for a particular journal.

The chance of publishing in a four-star journal may be higher than you think.

It is often assumed that a highly ranked journal receives thousands of submissions each year, but the Academy of Management Review receives just 400. The chances of publishing a high-quality paper in this journal are therefore higher than you might expect, but at the same time, leading journals expect papers with scholarly depth, inttrenal rigour, and, when appropriate, a sufficient weight of empirical evidence.

First impressions matter

Professor Wood explained “Referees are like anybody – they’re trying to make sense of a complicated world, so they will look for shortcuts and for the initial impression a paper gives.” He advised making a good first impression by ensuring a strong introduction, conclusion and abstract, and ensuring that any formula and tables in the paper are easy to understand.

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

Out of date references

Professor Wood explained that this mistake is commonly made by PhD students, who begin gathering data well before writing up their findings. The out of date references make it look as though the paper has already been rejected elsewhere, and, potentially ‘zombie’ papers.

Ignoring referee comments

While it is accepted that researchers may wish to submit a rejected paper elsewhere, Professor Wood cautions against ignoring comments from previous reviewers. The comments are likely to give your paper a better chance of success, but even more so, you may come across the same reviewer at another journal who will be unimpressed if you have ignored their advice!

Failing to cite the target journal

Conduct a careful keyword search in your target journal to ensure you are citing the most relevant references. Not only is it insulting not to cite your target journal; the chances are that your reviewer will be somebody who has recently published in that journal too.

Academy of Management Perspectives Journal: Insight from the Editor

AMP’s Associate Editors have a lot of past editorial experience – typically 8-10,000 citations each – which represents “a lot of knowledge and wisdom coming into your paper.” Professor Wood noted the “career-transforming effect” for scholars whose work has been published in AMP.

He reassured attendees that the chances of getting published in AMP are fairly good, as the journal receives comparatively few high-quality submissions. From the end of the year, AMP will scrap the current system of submitting a proposal before the paper to ensure a more streamlined process for researchers.

It is also worth noting that the journal offers special issues, and would normally expect at least one person within a special issue team to be a very senior and well-established scholar.

Human Resource Management Journal

As a journal of political economy, HRMJ tends to take work that provides some reflections in the broader context of research. It also takes a lot of international work. The journal accepts empirical and conceptual papers, however it does not take organisational psychology papers that do not engage with HR issues. Researchers are not expected to be HR specialists, but they do need to engage with HR literature.

Professor Wood’s presentation was followed by a question and answer session, where researchers had an opportunity to ask more specific questions about the publication process, AMP and HRMJ. One researcher commented: “I think this kind of insight is very important – I don’t usually see editors to share these insights!”

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Department of Management Welcomes Professor Vijay Pereira for first Meet the Editor Session

The Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Business Research and Global Real Impact Editor for the Journal of Knowledge Management joined the Department for a virtual presentation on how to publish in top management journals.

Meet-the-Editor Sessions are free for anyone to join.

Screenshot of the group meeting for the Meet the Editor session

Dr Muthu De Silva (top left) and Dr Geoff Walters (top right) introduced this presentation by Professor Vijay Pereira (bottom left).

Dr Muthu De Silva, Director of Research and session chair opened the discussion by sharing the objective of the Meet the Editor series: to motivate and support our community of excellent scholars to thrive in research, during this difficult time.

While we are all missing face to face contact with colleagues across Birkbeck and beyond, it has to be said that lockdown has presented opportunities to be more creative and geographically ambitious with events in the School of Business, Economics and Informatics, as Dr Geoff Walters, Executive Dean reminded the audience during the welcome speech. Around fifty researchers in the field of Management tuned in to this online talk by Professor Vijay Pereira of NEOMA Business School, France, designed to provide greater insight into the types of research that top management journals are looking to publish.

As Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Business Research and Global Real Impact Editor for the Journal of Knowledge Management, as well as a member of the editorial board for a number of other journals (e.g. Journal of Management Studies), Professor Pereira has extensive knowledge of prestigious publications, commenting on the ‘outside the box’ thinking that he brings to academia and the journals on which he works.

In this session, Professor Pereira provided a detailed introduction to the ethos and outlook of the Journal of Business Research and the Journal of Knowledge Management, along with his advice for those looking to publish in these journals.

Journal of Business Research

The Journal of Business Research (JoBR) is a UK ABS 3* and ABDC ‘A’ journal. Firstly, Professor Pereira highlights the importance of understanding the scope of the journal in which you wish to publish. In the case of JoBR, in addition to the theoretical rigour, the journal aids the application of empirical research to practical situations and theoretical findings to the reality of the business world. This practical underpinning is reflected by JoBR’s broad target audience, which includes executives alongside scholars and researchers.

JoBR has a somewhat unique organisational structure, with two Editors-in-Chief, three to four Deputy Editors-in-Chief, five Special Issue Editors and 65 Associate Editors covering sixteen discipline areas – this number is large but unsurprising considering that JoBR receives 4,500 -5,000 submissions a year! While publication is competitive, the journal’s 6% acceptance rate represents a significant number of papers, so Professor Pereira warns not to be discouraged from applying.

There are three key points to consider when submitting to JoBR:

  1. The quality of the theory
  2. Robust data or concepts
  3. Real-world implications for business or management situations

There are also three key points to consider in terms of the journal’s positioning:

  1. JoBR is international in scope, looking for work from new contexts and new scholars and continuing to grow globally
  2. The journal has moved from being marketing focused to being interdisciplinary covering a wider range of management disciplines, such as international business and innovation
  3. JoBR has a key focus on impact – it is the number one cited marketing journal according to Google Scholar’s H Index

Keeping the three I’s of international, interdisciplinary and impactful in scope is key for researchers submitting to this journal.

Journal of Knowledge Management

In the second part of this presentation, Professor Pereira discussed the Journal of Knowledge Management, a leading journal in this field with an ABS 2* and ABDC ‘A’ rating.

To Professor Pereira’s knowledge, the Journal of Knowledge Management is the first journal to have a Global Real Impact Editor and has also recently appointed Regional Real Impact Editors.

Putting impact at the front and centre of the work it looks to publish, the Journal of Knowledge Management invites pieces by scholars, academics and individuals from industry. It is similarly international in scope, with articles from China, India, Brazil, France and the UK in the pipeline. The journal looks to maximise the diversity of its output without compromising on quality, and a focus on impact from the beginning of the process enables it to do this.

A focus on the practical impact and applicability of research is therefore key when submitting to this journal.

We would like to thank Professor Pereira for his time and for an insightful and informative start to our Meet the Editor Series. All are welcome to join us for our upcoming Meet the Editor events:

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