The Midwest Academy of Management 2022 Conference offered an incredible panel conversation with journal editors. Panelists included K. Praveen Parboteeah, Sang Lee, Tim Peterson, Tingting Yan, and Larry Williams.
Here are the lessons I took away from this session:
In the “publish or perish” world of academia, it is important for job security to publish as often as possible in the top journals in your field. Here are some suggestions from the editors to boost your success rate:
Before submitting a paper to a journal, read the scope of the journal. Make sure that the study you have done and the theoretical framing you’ve used are aligned with the journal’s purpose. You should also carefully edit your paper. The version you send in should be the best work you can do.
They also suggested some things to NOT do. Never send an incomplete paper. (One editor had actually had someone send him 6 abstracts once and ask him to pick which one he wanted a full paper on… this was not appreciated.) Another thing to avoid is over-complicating your methods. “Don’t math for no reason,” was one of my favorite quotes of the day.
We all hope when we submit to have an opportunity to revise and resubmit our paper. Reviewers put a lot of time and effort into reading submissions and offering their insight, so the response back should be just as thoughtful and show respect to them for that. However, you do not necessarily have to agree with all of the feedback or do each of the suggested edits.
An ideal response includes the feedback the reviewer provided along with the action you have taken (or an explanation of why you have chosen not to) for that recommendation. You can arrange this in a table with the original review comments in one column and your response in the other. Since your response may be coming back to the editor and reviewers weeks or months after they provided the feedback and they may not remember a lot of the details, this will save them a lot of time. (In my own experience, it also makes the R&R process easier for me as the author to organize things this way!)
For (Prospective) Editors
Thinking of volunteering to serve as an editor yourself? It’s not a decision to make lightly, but it can be incredibly rewarding. One drawback that the panelists described is the workload. Editors have to do a LOT of reading, and will desk reject many of the articles they read. Which leads to another drawback – you probably won’t be popular.
That said, the panelists all said the experience was also positive. As an editor, you get to see the entire process, from start to finish. You are “in the room where it happens,” which is a really special thing. And being an editor offers an opportunity to meet and build relationships with great people.
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