Listening to international editors: Priyanka Gilani about journal management in India

priyankaPriyanka Gilani is the Managing Editor of Indian Journal of Marketing, Indian Journal of Finance, Prabandhan: Indian Journal of Management and Arthshastra: Indian Journal of Economics & Research, four double blind peer reviewed monthly journals.

An alumnus of the University of Delhi, Priyanka has proven to be a dedicated and skilled Managing Editor of four major business research journals. With more than six years of experience in Editorial Development, Editorial Project Management, Editorial Consulting, Editorial Production, Content Writing and Content Management, Priyanka has been successfully handling the myriad details required to produce the monthly editions of the four journals.

With a subscriber base that is unparalleled by any other Journal in India, they are the leading Journals of Business Management in India, with a pan-India presence and a discernible International subscriber and readership base.

Gaudeamus interview starts from the target, an average reader of these  journals… 

Priyanka Gilani:  Our target audience are: Professors/Lecturers/Academicians in various capacities and levels as well as Students/Research Scholars with research interests in Marketing, Finance, Management, and Economics; industry experts, Business Managers, Consultants, Policymakers and Practitioners of Marketing, Finance, Management, and Economics disciplines; also, our titles are widely referred for classroom discussion across India. 

G: How difficult is to find content to satisfy your readers? And what do you do to find it?

PG: Since we have been in this field since the last four decades, and due to our sound Editorial Policies, we have a very healthy manuscript submission rate. Our titles have a wide audience and are quite popular; hence, our Journals are an obvious choice for academicians and scholars associated with the field of Business Management. Over the years, we have painstakingly established, cultivated, and maintained a good reputation that has been vital in attracting authors. Only 15% of the manuscripts submitted to our titles are accepted for publication. In order to satisfy our readers, we publish insightful research of the highest quality, and the subject scope reflects and keeps pace with the evolving research activities in the 21st century.

G: What characteristics should have a paper to be published in your journals?

PG: Besides being well written research, a paper should:

  • Make a contribution to the subject area;
  • Match with the scope of the Journal in terms of significance and relevance of the topic;
  • Be original;
  • Have a well-defined set of objectives;
  • Have a sound methodological approach and conceptual rigor;
  • Have strong evidence (empirical data, case study, tested models, etc.);
  • Have clear presentation of results and discussion;
  • Have a useful set of conclusion, suggestions, and research implications;
  • Have quality references ( both in-text and cited references).

G: What is the role of indexation for journals in general? Do you feel any kind of pressure as Managing Editor about indexation?

PG: Indexing of Journals is of paramount importance as most of the authors choose to publish in a Journal only after seeing where the Journal is indexed/abstracted as they get extra credits for a paper published in an indexed Journal. For various databases, the decision to include a Journal is based on several factors – the most important being Scientific Quality, Editorial Value, Technical Quality, International Availability, and Regularity with which a Journal is published. Furthermore, receiving a rating from a ranking system further cements the position of a Journal as this system provides a multi-parameter analysis of scientific output, research potential, and is an evaluation of a Journal’s quality.

Indian Journal of Marketing, Indian Journal of Finance, Prabandhan : Indian Journal of Management are indexed in the Cabell’s Directory of Publishing Opportunities, USA; Ulrich’s International Periodicals Directory, USA; Index Copernicus Journals Master List, Index Copernicus International, Poland;  Indian Science Abstracts (ISA-NISCAIR), Journal of Economic Literature (JEL), USA ; and EconLit, USA.

Recently, Indian Journal of Marketing and Indian Journal of Finance have been accepted for inclusion in Elsevier’s SciVerse Scopus after undergoing a rigorous evaluation procedure. I think Scopus covers just one title of Business Management from India, and we are extremely proud to have made it to the list. In addition, our titles have been awarded the NAAS Rating by National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, which is a Government of India institution. So, yes, in India, Indexing is very important for a Journal. Having said this, I feel that search engines like Google Scholar with the Google Scholar Metrics will give tough competition to indexing databases in the future. 

G: What do you think are the main drivers of change in journal publishing in India?

PG: Research in Business Management is still at a nascent stage in India. Scholarly journals indexed in good databases, publishing pioneering research whose results can be fed into management practice and public policy making that is specific to Indian sub-cultures and markets will be the main drivers of change in Journal publishing in India. Social Media (Web 2) will offer the potential to enhance informal and scholarly communication. Most importantly, the policies of the Government of India will have a great impact on Journal publishing in India.

G: What are the main problems a Managing Editor of several international journals faces?

PG:  Running four peer-reviewed Journals has its own set of challenges. Producing monthly editions of our titles is indeed quite challenging as we have to work with extremely tight deadlines. We have to produce an Issue within the shortest possible time, without compromising on the quality of the content.  Since our titles are produced in the print form, we have to make sure that our titles are printed as per the schedule to be dispatched on time. In the midst of producing regular issues, I also have to serve as a liaison between the reviewers and the authors to evince high quality and timely reviews, and then communicate with the authors regarding the status of their submission. In addition, I correspond with authors regarding my suggestions to improve a paper, suggest changes as per our editorial requirements, respond to routine correspondence and inquiries related to our titles, and contribute to Editorial meetings. I have a jam-packed schedule, but I truly enjoy my work as each day is a learning experience.

G: Finally, what advice would you give to scholars when submitting papers to your journals?

PG: The authors should read the Guidelines for Authors carefully regarding the instructions pertaining to manuscript specifications, style guide, and the formalities associated with submission and publication of a paper. Ensure that citations are complete in all respects (both in-text and cited references). Don’t make multiple submissions of the same paper. Since all communication is through email, please check your email regularly, and in case of any queries regarding a paper, a submission, or anything regarding the Journal, get in touch with the editor directly to clarify the queries rather than harbouring pre-conceived notions. After publication, include your papers in Google Scholar to publicize your paper and also to increase citations.

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Poll: reasons when selecting a journal to submit a paper

dudando

Choosing the journal where to send our paper is critical for two main reasons:

  • Objective factors. The main thing is that it fits in our publication strategy: indexed, with impact factor, peer reviewed, open access, among other criteria.
  • Subjective factors. Then, and not the least, we have to find the journal that is looking for the kind of research and manuscript that we have written. This way we could avoid sending our paper to multiple journals, wasting our time and morale.

Q&A. The peer-review process from inside a journal

Paulo Cesar Chagas Rodrigues

Paulo Cesar Chagas Rodrigues

Paulo Cesar Chagas Rodrigues, Bachelor in Management, Master in Production Engineering and pursuing PhD in Mechanical Engineering. From 2008 to 2012 was a member of the organizing committee of the National Production Engineering (ENEGEP). From 2008 to 2010 was a member of the organization committee the International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (ICIEOM) and National Meeting of Coordinators of Production Engineering (ENCEP). From 2008 to 2011 published five book chapters in Hamburg International Conference of Logistics (HICL). From 1989 to 2004 he worked as an analyst for computer support, providing services to companies such as HP, Compaq and IBM. From 2008 to 2011 was a professor of Business Administration courses and Sugarcane Production Technologist at Sacred Universidade do Sagrado Coração (USC) in Bauru, SP, Brazil. Since 2011 he has been exclusively dedicated to teaching in technical courses in Agribusiness and Events, at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of São Paulo (IFSP). In 2010 he started the project of the scientific journal Independent Journal of Production & Management, which seeks to dedicate his free moments for the management and dissemination of the Journal.

The IJM&P is a journal for unpublished works related to Administration and Engineering of Production and Mechanics and Economics as well as works that present results of studies and researches about the activities of Science and Technology Information. The Journal is published on a semester-by-semester basis in June and December and is Indexed in several databases.

Gaudeamus: Peer review is a standard requirement for a journal. Do you foresee any changes in the future about this quality system?

Paulo Cesar Chagas: Yes. It is a standard to have a journal peer review. We do not intend to change this pattern, it is a way to try to get an unbiased review about the work we are subjected, and enable us to curb potential abuse cases. For example, a reviewer who does not like a given researcher say that his/her work is bad or to be sympathetic to say that the work is excellent.

G: What are the main challenges an Editor faces regarding peer review?

PCC: Nowadays I see as a major challenge in peer review: (a) The commitment of some of the reviewers regarding the pre-determined deadlines, which are informed when sending the invitation. (b) Not to overload reviewers with too much work because it means having reviews with a low standard of quality. (c) Monitor and analyze the discrepancies in the evaluation, etc.

G: How do journals find good peer reviewers for your journal?

PCC: While searching good reviewers we try to make invitations to researchers who have an affinity for the areas that the journal intends to act and who: (a) Are linked to postgraduate programs. (b) Reviewers mainly from international congresses. (c) Authors who have at least a master’s degree and who are or wish to attend the PhD and have published interesting papers in international journals and conferences. (d) Through the contact network we created, for example, the group created in Gaudeamus or Linkedin. (e) Other reviewers of journals that we eventually have contact. But we also tried to assess the level of commitment of the reviewer regarding deadlines for review, the contributions they make to the articles they assess, because our goal is not only to publish many works, but works with quality and that contribute to the academy and society.

G: Does the perfect peer reviewer exist? How should she/he be?

PCC: In my opinion there is no perfect reviewer because we are human beings and therefore flawed. We can be affected by a number of variables, e.g. fatigue, stress, depression, overwork, family problems, financial and/or professional issues, etc.

Supposedly, publishers should worry about overwork, check if reviewers can assess, thank for the commitment to evaluate a particular article and meet deadlines.

G: Do you think that being a peer reviewer is important for a professor? Why?

PCC: It is certainly important because when a teacher will prepare your lesson or material support, (s)he cannot focus only on books, but also articles and opinions of others, so be participating as a reviewer and even as a researcher/author will help create more interesting lessons and current information, you can provide your students current examples.

I often tell my students: a good book may come up at bookstores and libraries with a delay of at least 2 years of the start of the research that generated it, due to adjustments and corrections. Like an article, a book must go through the evaluation and the rating of reviewers which can take months, not to mention the other phases.

G: Finally, what advice would you give to peer reviewers? (For example, how many articles to review a month or how much time dedicate to each review?, etc.)

PCC: Observe the policies of the journal regarding: (a) The deadlines for evaluation. (b) The amount of articles that will be submitted for evaluation by edition. (c) If the journal has affinity with their research area. (d) If the journal states the responsibilities of authors, (and) if you have a conflict of interest related to the policy. (e) If it presents the mission, vision and goal of the journal. (f) If it keeps an updated list of reviewers who evaluated the course articles over the years, etc.

But I also see that the prospective reviewers should bother to provide the greatest possible amount of information for the journal they are applying for, as an instance the area and method of research, and a brief professional biography.

Marketing your papers to make an impact: poll conclusions

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The poll was posted in March 2013 in many academic discussion groups. Around 650 answers were collected and many hot comments. The question was:  What do you do MOST to increase the probabilities of your papers to be cited? And the results are:

  • Include the papers in your website and social profiles                                28.0%
  • Publish in indexed and open access journals                                                25.4%
  • Distribute  research early as working papers or tech reports                     16.0%
  • Active selling (promote it on web discussions, blogs, etc.                          12.2%
  • Other activities                                                                                                         4.2%
  • I do nothing                                                                                                            10.0%
  • I do not believe in impact indicators                                                                   4.2%

I have two comments. The first one is about the activities undertaken by professors, that apart from those mentioned above, it has also been discussed some others:

  • Publish with other scholars could help to increase the impact of the article. Research suggests that an article with co-authors is more cited than articles with just one author.
  • Be really strategic about your abstract and your title. Put key words in your title that will make them more likely to be picked up by search engines.
  • Twiter. Here I would mention that active selling in general is a laborious task, it is not enough posting it once at each website or discussion, it should be done regularly and with originality to not be a pain in the neck.

The other comment is on the activity of marketing your articles itself, it has not been accepted as expected, since for example almost 15% of the professors do nothing or do not believe in this citation system; particularly among the publishing industry professionals, which have come to qualify this activity as “snake oil salesman”, although they should be delighted, because professors are willing to be involved in disseminating their publications.

My conclusion is that, although the main focus should be on research and writing good papers, of course, the current imperfect but vital citation system prompts us professors to take action and be active sellers of our publications. Who dares to suggest professors to do nothing? To be passive?

The research process and web 2.0 skills for academics

Throughout the research process, professors have to develop a variety of multidisciplinary activities quite different and complex. The purpose of this blog post is to display the high-level phases of the research process and suggest the web 2.0 skills we need to develop for the success in our research and its dissemination.

web 2.0

1.     Research project definition, funding and collaboration 

At this stage, apart from the ideas and projects that are coming or you want to do, you need ability to raise funds and engage others to research with you, though you can do it alone and without resources, of course.  Both are not easy to get, but it can help if your research curriculum and publications are available and if you are known as an expert in your field of knowledge. This is what you would do to find collaborators, but it takes time, you do not build relationships overnight, so keep participating in web forums and assisting regularly to academic events and conferences.

2.     Research activity

Apart from the specific software needed for your research, you should also have to use open access repositories and libraries containing dissertations and working papers, as sources for documenting your research or having access to the current literature and methodologies about your research project.  There are now other web tools that can help you at this stage, as bookmarking internet pages and programs that enable you to share files with your collaborators.

3.     Publish in journals

Once you finished your research, there are some key activities to make your work published, as to think of what you want to do with the research, write the draft articles, and choose the journal where to publish. At this moment of the process it will be of great value having web 2.0 tools to connect with journal editors and seek help about how to get your research published in journals. You know that we are building Gaudeamus – the network for publishing in academic journals, and I am producing this blog, where you can find methods and thoughts to improve the chances of being published in indexed journals.

4.     Share your publications

This is an increasingly important skill for researchers, some publishers find it disgusting (one of them called me “snake oil salesman” in a web discussion on this topic), but it should be the opposite, because they would have an army of authors promoting their journals. Among the activities to be undertaken to promote your publications would be to include your papers in your website, your profile in Linkedin, FB or other communities; or active selling, as promoting your manuscripts in web discussions, blogs, or conferences.

Too many things to do for a professor to make an impact, apart from doing activities such as teaching and consulting. I really think that academics are one of a kind, don’t you think so?

Listening to journal editors: Dr.Max Haring from SpringerPlus

Dr. Max Haring is currently the executive editor for SpringerPlus, Springer’s first international peer-reviewed Open Access journal for research from all disciplines. Max has nearly 6 years of publishing experience as editor for books and international subscription journals in different areas of biomedicine, mainly microbiology, ageing and genetics. Before he joined Springer Science and Business Media, Max did his MSc at Wageningen University and his PhD in biochemistry at the University of Amsterdam, both in the Netherlands. Max lives in Amsterdam.

Max Haring

Gaudeamus: What characteristics should have a paper to be published in your journals?

Max Haring: SpringerPlus is open for research from all areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine, the Humanities and Social Sciences. For SpringerPlus a manuscript is never out of scope: if the science is sound, we will consider it for publication. Because of this all-inclusive scope, a manuscript will not be rejected because its topic does not match our profile: For SpringerPlus it is really only the scientific quality that counts. All submissions are handled by our interdisciplinary international board of academic editors and board members, and I am in the lucky position to be able to boast of our great team of expert researchers. These academics will handle peer-review for all manuscripts by finding field specialists to assess the quality, and using their expertise to reach a decision to accept or reject. SpringerPlus also has a message to our reviewers that is different from most journals: we ask our reviewers to look at the research facts presented in the manuscript: Are all technical and methodological aspects of the research correct and accurate, is the research original and do the conclusions match the findings? We ask our researchers not to judge on more subjective matters like how large the audience for a particular study is, what the impact of the study will be or if the study fits the journal. This approach allows us to make studies that are difficult to publish in traditional journals, such as interdisciplinary, descriptive or data-heavy papers, methodological improvements and short reports.

Gaudeamus: How is the average reader of your journals? What are they looking for?

Max Haring: We publish our download statistics online at http://www.springerplus.com/mostviewed so everyone can follow what’s happening, and I must admit I am surprised to see which articles are downloaded often. Currently the most accessed paper is one on brain damage after sports-related concussion, which may have some relevance for the general public, but in our list are also several articles on biological waste management, a few clinical care management studies and an improved method to measure the purity of gold samples – all very technical articles that I would not have considered to be of general interest, but still they are frequently downloaded. I believe these articles are the best example of how SpringerPlus works for authors to get their work published, read and used.

Gaudeamus: What is the role of indexation for journals in general? Do you feel any kind of pressure as Executive Editor about indexation?

Max Haring: Indexing is a crucial aspect of academic publishing, and being in the right indexes is essential for the success of any journal. Many authors make their decision to submit their next manuscript based on where a journal is indexed, because of professional preference or because their university or funder demands this. Having said that, we do see that the importance of indexes for literature searches lessens every year, they’re losing ground to search engines like Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search. In addition, the increased availability of Article Level Metrics (altmetrics) makes the quality stamp given by indexes less important. Readers and authors now have more tools to determine the quality of an individual article: after all, an article can be very good even when it is published in an average journal, and altmetrics can show scientific value independent of indexing or impact factor.

Gaudeamus: Open access is driving change in the publishing industry, how do you think is going to affect research and the measurement of its impact?

Max Haring: Historically the academic publishers provide researchers with a published version of record, a fixed point in the scientific literature for people to read and cite, and this has not changed much since the focus moved from print to online publications. Publishing in an online environment does bring new and exciting possibilities, and I believe open and unrestricted access to research is essential here. One of the least discussed aspects of Open Access (green and gold) is that reuse of the text and data is allowed: Open Access allows us to analyse and combine data now locked away in thousands of individual PDF files with limited accessibility. The specifics of this depends somewhat on the license (like CC-BY with or without NC), but scientists and companies are now free to access and process a huge and growing body of data and text, without barriers. I am confident that the availability of Open Access literature will encourage new developments, for instance by enabling text mining and semantics, for testing new algorithms and creating new clever ways to represent and access data. The availability of Open Access literature also has great benefits for researchers from low-income countries or at smaller institutes without subscription access and it is as strong driver for citizen science projects.

Gaudeamus: What are the main problems an Executive Editor of several international journals face?

Max Haring: Heading a truly interdisciplinary journal like SpringerPlus has some unique challenges of its own. For instance we have to meet the expectations and demands of authors from mathematics as well as philosophy and medicine, who all have different ideas on how an article should look. At the same time we have to make sure their work is published with high quality and as quickly as possible: our authors expect fast turn-around times.  I am however in the lucky position of being part of Springer, a large and experienced company with a long history in academic publishing, and it is very easy to get advice from my colleagues in publishing, marketing and production. At the same time I consider it a great privilege to be able to meet, correspond and discuss with researchers around the world and from all disciplines. Science is my passion and for me it is all about learning new things: I still get excited when clever researchers discovered something new and interesting; that can really make my day.

Gaudeamus: Finally, what advice would you give to scholars submitting papers to your journals?

Max Haring: Look carefully at the aims and scope, instructions for authors and editorial board before submitting, even before looking at metrics like the impact factor. Find the best match between a manuscript and a journal, because this means the manuscript will be handled by experts who give valuable feedback, and when published the article will reach the most relevant audience. Always look for journals that provide DOIs (digital object identifiers) and post alternative metrics, so you know what is happening, and always go for Open Access (green or gold). And don’t forget to do marketing for your papers after publication: send PDFs to colleagues, advertise your article at conferences and blog or tweet about your publication. All these efforts will bring readers first and citations later.

How to increase the probabilities of your papers to be cited?

citationThe dissemination and impact of research for academics is increasingly vital, either to find a position/tenure or to earn prestige. And this impact is being measured by some publishing companies by the number of citations that your publications have from other authors.

Although the main focus should be on research and writing good papers, and knowing that  the current citation system could be improved, we should also consider to sell our publications a little bit; let’s call it “citation marketing”.

What do you do to increase the probabilities of your papers to be cited?

1. Distribute early your research as working papers or technical reports.

2. Include your papers in your website, your profile in Linkedin, FB or other communities.

3. Publish in indexed and open access journals.

4. Active selling, as promoting your manuscripts in web discussions, blogs, or conferences.

5. Other activities (please add them in the comments).

6. I do nothing.

7. I do not believe in impact indicators.

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