Putting efforts into high-quality reviews for academic journals has been a task of idealists so far. Unfortunately, these efforts are mostly invisible for appointment committees. That is a pity for two reasons: First, if researchers frequently receive review requests from good journals this indicates that they are respected by their research community. Second, if researchers accept such requests they demonstrate a willingness to develop and serve the research community. However, a relatively new tool, Publons, has the potential to make a change. Publons provides “a platform that allows researchers to track, verify and be recognised for their peer review and editorial work”. The good thing: “A researcher’s peer review and editorial contributions can be displayed on their public Publons profile to show the world the impact they have on their research field and enhance their career.” Publons often even tracks the length of submitted review documents and can even be used to create a verified review report, which can be included in job and funding applications.
Some time ago, an editorial of Nature Human Behaviour has highlighted that “[the] quest for positive results encourages numerous questionable research practices […] such as HARKing (hypothesizing after the results are known) and P-hacking (collecting or selecting data or statistical analyses until non-significant results become significant)”. To counteract these very serious problems, that make theory-testing research almost useless, the journal has adopted the registered report format, which “shift[s] the emphasis from the results of research to the questions that guide the research and the methods used to answer them”. Similarly, the European Journal of Personality has recently announced to support the registered report format, too: “In a registered report, authors create a study proposal that includes theoretical and empirical background, research questions/hypotheses, and pilot data (if available). Upon submission, this proposal will then be reviewed prior to data collection, and if accepted, the paper resulting from this peer-reviewed procedure will be published, regardless of the study outcomes.” I can only hope that SCM journals will quickly catch up with this development in other fields.
Are you currently conducting conceptual, qualitative, or survey research? Are you also aiming to publish the results in a top journal? Then I have some tips for you that could bring you one step closer to your goal. These tips can be found in a recent JBL editorial: A Trail Guide to Publishing Success: Tips on Writing Influential Conceptual, Qualitative, and Survey Research. Herein, the authors identify and describe agreed-upon basics that can help to “(1) increase consistency in the review process, (2) reduce publication cycles, and (3) begin to roll back the length of articles”. For three types of research (conceptual, qualitative, and survey research), best practices are presented for crafting articles. I especially like a table with warning signs “that authors are wandering down a perilous path”, which can be used as a check list for your own research. These warning signs might also help reviewers to evaluate the quality of a manuscript.
Fawcett, S., Waller, M., Miller, J., Schwieterman, M., Hazen, B., & Overstreet, R. (2014). A Trail Guide to Publishing Success: Tips on Writing Influential Conceptual, Qualitative, and Survey Research. Journal of Business Logistics, 35 (1), 1-16 https://doi.org/10.1111/jbl.12039
As highlighted in a previous post, a reviewer should identify a manuscript’s deficiencies (“gatekeeper”), but a reviewer should also provide suggestions for how these deficiencies can be addressed (“gardener”). In addition, the review process should also be fast. The depicted keypad extension, invented for reviewers and editors, may accelerate the process. (I am just not sure whether such a tool could lead to premature decisions.)
Supply chains have often been regarded as interorganizational networks. An incredibly insightful article by Provan et al. (2007), Interorganizational networks at the network level: A review of the empirical literature on whole networks, makes clear that two different views on interorganizational networks need to be distinguished: (1) the view from the organizational level of analysis (also referred to as actor level, micro-level or egocentric network level) and (2) the view from the network level of analysis (also referred to as macro-level or whole network level). Egocentric theories often focus on the “embeddedness” of an organization in a network and on dyadic relationships. The authors argue that “[o]nly by examining the whole network can we understand such issues as how networks evolve, how they are governed, and, ultimately, how collective outcomes might be generated”. Their article provides a review of studies of whole networks. I am certain that supply chain management research can benefit from this valuable contribution.
Provan, K., Fish, A., & Sydow, J. (2007). Interorganizational Networks at the Network Level: A Review of the Empirical Literature on Whole Networks. Journal of Management, 33 (3), 479-516 DOI: 10.1177/0149206307302554
At this year’s CSCMP Conference in Philadelphia I joined a presentation about high-quality reviews held by the co‐editors in chief of the Journal of Supply Chain Management. Therefore, I’d like to remember their July 2010 editorial, Crafting High-quality Reviews: Guidelines, Examples and Feedback. While a reviewer should identify a manuscript’s deficiencies (“gatekeeper”), a reviewer should also provide suggestions for how these deficiencies can be addressed (“gardener”). The authors argue that a high-quality review should consist of five characteristics: The reviewer should (1) provide a brief summary of the paper at the beginning of the review, (2) convey a constructive attitude, (3) provide a list of specific comments regarding weaknesses and concerns about the manuscript, (4) ensure that an article that reports data takes either an inductive or deductive approach, and (5) assess the level of theoretical development in the paper. In addition, the editors of the Journal of Business Logistics have just provided a prescription for reviewing out of one’s own comfort zone.