Adding value in academia: The vision of a newborn Ukrainian journal

Adding value in academia: The vision of a newborn Ukrainian journalVladyslav Dombrovskyi graduated in Banking and had been teaching Micro- and Macroeconomics for many years, till he made a decision to change his career path and transform his lifelong hobby and passion for computers and computer networks into his profession. In 2010, Vladyslav switched to applied computer science and became an associate professor at the Department of Economic Cybernetics (Ukrainian Academy of Banking). The next three years were life changing for him. He tried a new capacity of a team-mentor in Microsoft Imagine Cup competition and also led several software development projects. At the moment, Vladyslav is a managing editor of the Information Technology and Economics journal, a new international journal established in 2014, which focuses on the intersection of IT, Business and Economics.

Gaudeamus. Why have you decided to set up a new academic journal?

Vladyslav Dombrovskyi. Our decision was based on three I-s: Idea, Inspiration and Interest.

It came as a surprise to discover that there were just a few interdisciplinary journals in the area. That is when and why the idea of a new journal was born. This initial idea grew into a bigger-scale one about the necessity to create a bridge, which could unite not only IT, Business and Economics, but people as well – namely, scholars and experts from all over the world.

We also had an inspired and inspiring team with diversified backgrounds, expertise and qualifications – this component surely added to the decision of launching such kind of a project.

Last but not least, it was the interest in IT as a driving force for modern economic and business development.

G. Which is the focus of the journal?

VD. The focus of the journal pursues two main directions: Application of IT in Business and Economics, and Economics of high-technology industries. At present, information technology changes rapidly and penetrates every sphere of our life, giving great opportunities to create a better future for everyone.

G. What do you think you are offering to the scientific community with your new journal?

VD. We believe our journal can offer several things. First of all, it is a unique interdisciplinary journal. We could find no more than 5 journals with similar thematic focus, aims and scope. Secondly, we provide a platform for discussing new ideas in the extremely up-to-date areas. What we really value is originality and novelty of those ideas. Finally, we offer participation in e-publishing experiments. We are not limited by the traditional model of publishing.  However, we are not going to immediately rush into the experiments – we are well aware of the fact that before you improve something, you need to learn and understand well how this process is organized traditionally.

G. What are the major difficulties you’re encountering in this initial phase?

VD. Right now, our main obstacle is forming the Editorial Board and finding a proper candidate for the Editor-in-chief position. Even though the idea of the journal looks interesting and topic is definitely relevant for the modern world, we still have to be very convincing to persuade people to join us. Nowadays academics do not have a lot of free time, which they can spend on participation in additional projects. Anyway, we have to refuse candidates who would like to join the Editorial Board if they do not meet our criteria.

G. What kind of papers and authors are you looking for the journal? And why should authors publish there?

VD. We are primarily interested in interdisciplinary researches on the intersection of IT, Business and Economics.  Nowadays there are millions of young people who have grown up with IT in their blood, and they go into traditional businesses and reinvent them. We are facing the emergence of a completely new economy, in which some industries can disappear while others are likely to be dramatically transformed. Let’s take, for example, Bitcoin. It clearly shows the possibility of paying for purchases or sending money without banks or any other intermediaries. So far this technology is a great controversy, but it can completely reshape financial markets. How? We have to think.

As for the authors, we would like to see papers from researchers with a deep understanding of Information Technology and its capabilities, who are not afraid of putting forward new bold ideas and discussing them. The pace of IT development is so high that economists often do not imagine the full extent of all the opportunities offered by the use of new technologies. At the same time, even the most advanced and useful technology is sooner or later confronted with the market and the laws of economics. We see our potential authors as part of a team, which wants to create a better future with the help of modern IT.

Why should they choose us? We offer not simply a publication in the journal – we strive to attract people who are eager to participate in the project, in the experiment. Write for our blog, share your ideas, discuss them, come up with a new initiative. Let’s dream together. Let’s put forward ideas and test them. We want to create a community around the journal that would help academics and practitioners with finding partners for joint researches. Moreover, we do not charge fees for publishing papers in our journal, as we strongly believe that selection should be based on professionalism and quality of a research and our project should be accessible for every worthy author.

At the same time, we are not going to go too far with the experiments. The journal is refereed and it will be abstracted and indexed by main academic databases and search engines as soon as the volume of content and other criteria are met.

G. Starting a new business in the academic world from Ukraine, do you think is an advantage or a disadvantage? Do you receive some kind of support from the state?

VD. First of all, what we are doing can be called business only in the sense that our goal is to create value for the academic community. The profit is a bad goal for such projects, but a good benchmark for confirming whether what you are doing is necessary for society or not. We believe that any good project should be financially self-sustaining. This ensures its long life.

Starting any new project in present-day Ukraine is challenging. There is a high level of uncertainty about the future due to the current situation. Ukrainians went through a revolution, where we proved our right to freedom, our right to be heard and our right to have a democratic country that values its citizens. Now our country is facing the transformation period, which is always a difficult time for everyone.

On the whole, we are perceived positively by the researches and they are ready to work with the scientific journal from the Eastern Europe, because they are mainly concerned about the quality. So we are now focused on forming a strong Editorial Board to ensure a smooth and transparent reviewing process.

Speaking about support – unfortunately, there are no governmental programs in this area at the moment, so we rely on friends, our supporters and ourselves. However, with the current transformation processes in Ukraine we hope for possible cooperation from the state – that is not likely to happen due to many other priorities that government should take care of, but we never stop hoping for better.

Join us in our journey (www.prostoscience.org). And you will see, it will be interesting.

Advertisements

The Craft of Research. Book Review

The Craft of Research. Book ReviewI wanted to read further about research methodology, data collection, and on hypotheses and interpreting the data, and I found this book (‘The Craft of Research’): the title was suggestive, the description of the book looked ok, as its price as e-book, it also seems that it was selling well and the reviews were not bad, so I decided to try.

The truth is that I was hoping to find information about the process of conducting academic research, more than tips on writing the research draft or paper, so in part I was a little disappointed, but ok, it happens sometimes.

  1. Although the objectives of the book were ‘doing and reporting research’, I’m afraid is more focused on reporting and writing the draft.
  2. But even for this, writing the draft, I found it somehow weak, or at least like any the other books on the subject, such as ‘The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success’ or ‘How to get research published in journals’.
  3. I’ve also seen it too focused on unexperienced researchers, who would appreciate anything more or less elaborated and well-written to reflect on the subject and start developing their writing skills.

But instead, there are parts of the book that indeed are interesting and noteworthy, which are what I look for sometimes: some specific ideas about writing a paper, abstract, literature review, or even to disseminate it.

  • For example, it’s well exposed for the search of the bibliography, in case anyone needs some methodological basis to help selecting the literature, which I have not seen in any other book so far. I have to admit that I appreciate it because my approach is more intuitive, based on Google Scholar, the library of my Faculty, and then pulling out of references and books on the topic I’m researching.

I also have a bitter aftertaste after reading it because, for a simple European professor I found some parts of the book too Anglo and certainly convoluted: those that relate reasons with evidences, arguments, claim evaluation and warrants, one with some of the others and then all together, I’m sorry.

Research papers, English language and fair play

Research papers, English language and fair playA few days ago I was criticized ironically on the social networks (by a non-academic consultant) by the grammar of one of my blog posts, although I take much care of the English writing, of course, and I usually dedicate to it around 25% of the time. It made me feel pretty bad, but it helped me to reflect on the theme of research papers, English language and fair play.

Something similar can happen to non-native English speakers with our academic articles, with which I’ve never had trouble publishing in premier journals in English, the last one in a fist quartile Journal Citation Reports (ISI Web of Knowledge / Web of Science) indexed journal. It’s true that there was a peer-reviewer (I don’t know whether He/She was native or non-native English speaker) in one of them who told me something about the writing, but as I explained that I had sent it to edit the English (I had the bill), they didn’t say anything back again.

Papers should be written in English for two main reasons:

Those of us who are non-native English have a handicap here, but it need not be a barrier to disseminate knowledge. The world would lost much of the innovation and development if journals were not open to international scientists, and journals understand it this way, there could be no complains about it. Another thing is that the English required for the manuscripts is of first class, which is fair and reasonable but slows and lengthens the process of publishing in journals for non-native speakers.

In case you find it helpful, the process I use to write an article in English is as follows, because I understand that not writing well could in itself spoil the work and effort invested in a research:

  1. Once I have a revised and contrasted research draft in Spanglish (parts in English and parts in Spanish), I translate it fully into English, paragraph by paragraph, carefully reviewing the meaning of each sentence and making sure it is understood.
  2. Then I send it to edit the writing to a specialized academic editor on my field of knowledge.
  3. And, finally, with the reviewer’s comments, I correct and improve it.

Thereby I expect that my articles, and blog posts, are understood, are well written and transmit my research and ideas, not that they win a prize for literature or are compared with the works of Hemingway! On the other hand, I think that non-native English academics should also be given a fair chance in this publishing world, providing we observe the writing rules and don’t hide behind our limitations.

Best practices for university professors in 2014

Best practices for university professors in 2014The year is ending, so it’s a good time to revisit our development roadmap as professors and researchers, and not lose the rhythm and blur our ultimate goal. Now you know that my philosophy is a balance in academic activities and a continuous effort.

As best practices for university professors in 2014 I suggest the following ones, which are those that I currently have in mind for my development, but they are open of course to other practices to be completed, depending on your academic stage.

Teaching

1. Keep preparing your classes thoroughly. Analyze the feedback / evaluation from students.

2. Improve your presentation and class management skills. Use further the case method and the involvement of students at class and during the course.

3. Develop new content for seminars and courses to keep building your personal brand and keep learning.

4. Search and be open to new job opportunities. It’ll also help you to focus in the key skills required by universities.

Researching

5. Collaborate in research projects with others, if possible from different universities and countries.

6. Take care of your research project pipeline. Have projects in different stages: new ideas; research in process; and articles pending to be reviewed and submitted to journals.

– In 2014, publish 1 paper in a journal indexed in JCR (Thomson Reuters); 1 indexed in EBSCO/Scopus or the like; and 1 indexed in a regional or specialized field database.

– Go identifying journals that best fits your articles. Try Gaudeamus – The academic network for publishing in journals.

7. Disseminate your published papers periodically in the social networks, such as Google+, Linkedin, ResearchGate or Acadamia.edu.

Other activities

8. Keep peer-reviewing papers for indexed journals, and collaborating as Board Member of research Institutions and journals.

9. Be attentive to new opportunities to start a business and transfer knowledge to society, based on your specialized scientific background.

10. Help other colleagues and students; be kind to people.

  

I wish you a happy holiday season and a rewarding 2014 for you and your families.

Selecting the right journal for my recent academic article

Selecting the right journal for my recent academic articleI’m finishing an article for its publication, now I’m writing the last touches before submitting it to publish, so it already has all the ingredients required to be acceptable: introduction, thesis and problem statement, topic relevance, literature review, data analysis, findings, implications and conclusions; that is the hard part.

Now we have to select the right academic journal (the soft part) for our article. Since the research and methodology have good bases, and the results are interesting, we plan to send it first to a journal indexed in JCRJournal Citations Reports (Web or Knowledge), quartiles Q1 or Q2.

  • We’ve identified, during the literature review, the scientific journals that publish research on our field of knowledge; we obtained about 8/10 journals.
  • Then I reviewed the database Journal Citations Reports (JCR) to see their impact and quartile. There were about 4 or 5 high quartile journals in the selection.
    • Now I need to check in Gaudeamus, the network for publishing in academic journals, if there is a journal of our preference, and I’ll contact the editor to introduce him my paper to see if it fits there. I’ve already done it successfully a couple of times, before or after the previous point of identifying indexed journals.
    • If the journal is listed in Gaudeamus, it means that the editor is open and available to contact authors, and then it’s much easier than sending the papers directly to a cold e-mail using other databases or directories.

After that, we’ll investigate the few 3/4 remaining journals for adapting the paper to their style and preferences, getting to know the underside of them, as their editorial board, their owners or quality criteria. The most important thing is to find the journal that is looking for the kind of research and manuscript that we have written; this way we’d avoid sending our article to several journals, wasting our time and morale.

We’ll submit it first to 2 or 3 JCR Q1/Q2 journals, and see what kind of feedback we’re getting; if we have no success with them we’ll go for JCR Q3/Q4, Scopus or EBSCO journals. And we shouldn’t take rejections as a failure, you always get information to improve the paper or to better target ‘your’ journal.

What do you think of our approach? Do you do the same when selecting a journal?

Academic SEO for your research papers

Academic SEO for your research papersThe truth is that I hadn’t thought much of linking SEO and papers before, but it’s reasonable: to use the techniques of marketing from bloggers and websites to raise the visibility of our research. There is a document on the subject, from Wiley, Search Engine Optimization: For Authors, which is quite original, though in truth it doesn’t add much to what authors do naturally with their papers, but it gives you a very interesting twist on how to write (or varnish) your scientific articles.

Selling ​​your articles to obtain citations is not well seen in academia, but instead working on SEO it isn’t, that comes to be the same thing, so don’t worry, without realizing it you do SEO for your publications.

  • Academic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of transforming your research paper into one which is easily indexed and categorized by the search engines, and thereby more advantageously positioned to increase visibility and citations.

That an author alone could position his/her articles on Google is practically impossible, though you can do many things, as Wiley say in the above mentioned article, such as:

  1. Take care of the title, abstract and keywords thinking of SEO
  2. Write consistently and use headings
  3. Cite your own articles and those of the co-authors
  4. Promote your papers in the social and academic networks

I mean, those are the logical tips, and even the classical ones to round and disseminate a paper in the web 3.0 environment, but you can now comment about them without complexes: everything seemed so far as self-promotion, now with SEO language everything is politically correct, and even look foolish if you don’t do it.

But don’t forget that the main tool of SEO is the very journal where you publish, or the publishing platform, that is well positioned as Wiley’s in this case; this by itself can generate more than 90% of a paper positioning on the searches. What doesn’t change anything to what is being done so far, that the platform for disseminating research is the important thing; so that simultaneously leaves a glimmer of hope for other innovative platforms such as repositories; there is the successful SSRN.

So take it easy, because everything in academic research always leads to the same thing: the base is good research, plan well the impact, and publish in the right journal for your paper. Almost nothing! And in the meanwhile don’t forget the SEO thing, for having done all you should do to increase your prestige and personal brand.

Book review: ‘The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success’

For some time I wanted to read a book to improve my skills to write good literature reviews, although I haven’t had many problems with peer-reviewers on this issue in particular, especially when I do a good job documenting my thesis research.

There are some specialized books in the field of literature review, but I found this in particular, ‘The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success (Machi & McEvoy, 2012) that looked nice and was not an expensive e-Book , which makes things easier since I’m trying to getting rid of the paper lately.

Book review: ‘The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success’As always, I’ll use this manual to perform the literature review of my next co-authored article, on international business models in the insurance industry, that is already well advanced, and we intend to submit to a Q1/Q2 JCR (Thomson Reuters) journal.

By having my academic paper already underway, the topic chosen and the research literature documented, I could jump three quarters of the content, the one on research design, choosing the topic of interest and its justification, and searching the existing literature. But of course I will use the methodology in the future for the research that I have in the pipeline, you can always improve your skills on this.

As for the review itself, I find very useful the structure provided for the review writing, indeed basic, simple and reasonable, which helps you have a schema that could help you to complete your ideas, thesis, analyzed documentation and its evaluation; that is, you are no longer faced with a blank paper when starting the literature review, but with a guide that facilitates this important part of your manuscript.

Since my goal is not to be a champion of the literature review, I’ll use this guide as a reference, because the main thing is to have our scientific paper understood, accepted, and published in journals, for which:

  • You have to take care of all the ingredients expected for a scientific journal, as a good review of the literature.
  • It should match the quality of the rest of the article.

In conclusion, the book is okay, a bit theoretical, but what do you expect? At least have a practical approach in 6 steps, but the first 3 and the last 2 are a kind of filler text, but I think undoubtedly that it contributes to help you not to forget these basic steps of the literature review and the composition of the thesis research and its documentation.

If you don’t have a peer beside to help you to improve your skills as a reviewer of the literature, the best idea is to read a manual like this, don’t you think? You can find it in our Bookstore as a Basic Book.

The future of scientific research dissemination: Liberalism back again

The future of scientific research dissemination: Liberalism back againLast week was the presentation of my book ‘Publish in Journals 3.0’ and attended as speakers one of the foremost authorities in Spain on accreditation, the President of ACAP; the Director of the Corporate Finance Department at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and the Library director of the Faculty of Business and Economics; who brought their different views on the future of scientific research dissemination.

In the later discussion, there were addressed two issues of particular relevance, which I found interesting to comment here for its reflection.

1. We were wondering if it makes sense for a centralized agency to evaluate professors, and somehow tell the universities which of them could recruit.

  • It would be something similar to university admissions, there is now a centralized evaluation to be replaced in the near future by the specific of each college, American style.
  • Accreditation agencies would focus then to certify program studies and not to professors, seen as a private subject, of its quality and vision of teaching.
  • Many professors present at the event, as me, were slightly perplexed since we are working very hard on our accreditations, and because this new scenario would put it much harder for their foreseeable lack of transparency and equality of criteria.
  • But this change in evaluations doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take care of our academic curriculum, on the contrary, the requirements will not be lower.

2. The other interesting point is that probably the future of quality of research dissemination is not in the Platform (journals, repositories or even peer-reviewed books and conferences), but in the number of citations.

  • Although the results of the last poll I conducted on this topic reflected the opposite, which was the opinion of researchers about their current situation; in the future more emphasis will be given to citations obtained than to the relevance of the journals in which research is published, both closely interrelated.
  • Moreover, publish papers in journals is not the only thing that measures the impact or quality of research, but there are other important activities, such as patents and transfer of knowledge to society through the creation of start-ups.

That is, the conclusion I draw is that the important thing is to do research, publishing is its result, not the goal, or the system become perverted. Either way, we professors expect troubled times (you know: life is change, change is life), but not necessarily for the better academically and for the future of society. It is the vision of radical liberalism that now prevails, I guess.

Towards a Corporate Governance system for journals

Towards a Corporate Governance system for journalsIn the previous post, I suggested the idea of ​​using the corporate governance model but for academic journals and research, a kind of Journal Governance system, aligning journal practices with each other and with the scientific environment in which they operate, which would lead the academic publishing industry towards a Corporate Governance system for journals.

In corporate governance there are two leading models: that of the Shareholders (in our case the journal would seek wealth maximization), monitored by the market, that is, their readers, paper rejections ratios, subscriptions, indexation in high ranked indexes, publication prestige, etc.; and that of the Stakeholders, having into account a dense network of journal collaborations; but the trend is to use a mixed model, in which the publishing world could have the following key Journal Governance Variables.

The internal forces, those directly responsible for determining both the strategic direction and the execution of the journal’s future:

  1. The journal owner (publishing company, faculty/university, scientists): Maximization of the journal value.
  2. The editorial board: Transparency and international approach.
  3. The editors (Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor):  Independence and loyalty.
  4. The peer-reviewers: Knowledge and ethics.

The external forces, those interested in the journals behavior and success:

  1. Readers, looking for quality, innovation and rigor of published research.
  2. Authors, seeking the prestige of the journal.
  3. Funding institutions, in need of project validation.
  4. Universities and faculties.
  5. Databases and indexes.
  6. Accreditation agencies of professors.
  7. The regulation of each country on education and teaching.

Many of these forces are currently existing, but in a weak way and not incorporated or regulated by a comprehensive model, for example forcing journals to publish a sort of Journal  Governance Annual Report, among other practices, which would be compelling as other quality practices, such as peer-review or independence of the academic board.

Anyway I’m not naive, I know that this hypothetical system of Journal Governance wouldn’t be infallible either, but would be the best we could come to have in the medium term, don’t you think so?

POLL: Do you bet your future as a researcher on Google Scholar metrics?

POLL: Do you bet your future as a researcher on Google Scholar metrics?The journals’ world is boiling: Internet and Open Access is questioning the indexed journals’ model, from anonymity in peer review to the selection criteria of the directories or databases, and the calculation of the journal impact indicators.

An alternative model to measure the quality of research are the personal citation indexes (H-index), which allow open tools, accessible and public such us Google Scholar; although, there are also private metrics, or at a cost, as Altmetric.

  • The change is motivated because the indexed journals’ model doesn’t just convince scientists, because of the power that some journals and private directories have. But it is producing an undesirable effect, that the two models are used now to evaluate the quality of research, with the danger of drowning professors and scientists even more.
  • And paradoxically, journals are also pressured in some way, because now they have to ‘promise’ implicitly that their published articles will be cited more with them.

Google Scholar metrics are here to stay. What do you think? Do you bet on your citation appeal?

* It can be chosen 1 o 2 answers.
**Comments are highly encouraged.

%d bloggers like this: