Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Monthly Archives: November 2017

The new faculty game . . . . .

We are coming up to the annual right of passage for doctoral students – the hiring interview – or as I like to think of it amateur hour with accounting faculty playing like they know something about HR and talent acquistion.  It amazes me every year the nature and type of questions I hear that accounting faculty have asked job market candidates.  Indeed it is a wonder to me that there are not more lawsuits against U’s who send out unprepared interviewers to carry out job interviews at the European Talent hunt and the Miami Beach camp.  I think the only reason to date there have not been any public lawsuits is the richness of the accounting job market so that everyone gets a job most years and hence has no reason to sue those schools who sent totally ill-suited folks to carry out interviews.

Almost annually I hear of doctoral students being asked about martial status, when an applicant is going to have children, sexual orientiation, political orientation, religious orientation (asking if you are saved is not kosher) etc etc etc.  These questions are not only invasive but in most countries and states illegal to ask during a job interview.  Furthermore, most of the time they are asked by folks that do not know that they are doing something wrong by asking the question – ignorance is not a bliss.

Any U that is sending off interviewers should ensure that a careful game plan is put together and that the interviewers have a clear understanding of what is and is not permitted to be asked.  After all, do you really want your institution to be the first one publically shamed????????

 

 

 

the gmat and PhD education

One of the things I am most amazed of is the importance of the GMAT to entrance decisions at many doctoral programs.  The GMAT is just another version of a standardized IQ test, one that can be gamed significantly if you practice, practice, practice . . . . . . . My proof, I got an 85% percentile hung over and a 97% sober.

I was also the “runt” of the litter in my PhD class at Michigan with that measure in mind.  Now you take the publication records of my classmates (indeed consider the two years before and two years after my entry where I continued to be the runt of the GMAT scores in the group) you will find only one of those 25 (at that time Michigan took 4-5 students a year) who research output is comparable to mine.

I am not certain that GMAT tells you a lot about the characteristics of what it takes to be a good researcher. Sure you have to be bright and the closer you are in brightness to the top 1% the better the raw material might be.  And the GMAT score, after taking it two or three times will give you a good measure of raw intelligence.  But there is also institutional knowledge, drive, ambition, curiosity,  the ability to deal with rejection etc that all come into play in carrying out original research.  Surely a four year undergraduate degree and any masters degree should tell you a lot more about academic potential than a standardized test.

Yet year after year I hear the same fallacies (i.e. “You need strong math skills and a high GMAT to be a successful PhD accounting student.”) perpetuated in PhD student selection decisions so as to make them almost self-fulfilling.  It ain’t so . . . .

 

 

Protecting your research

Last post was about discovering your research has been plagiarized in a predatory publisher – today is potential approaches to deal with it.

If your work is published, you need to work with your journal’s editor and publisher to have them take action, especially if you have transferred copyright to them.  They have a duty to protect your copyrighted work and if you remind them of that enough, they will take action, although not nearly as fast as you want them to.

If you have retained copyright (i.e. open access publishing) or your work is still in working paper form, it is up to you to protect your intellectual property.  This means being able to document the fact that the work is yours (e.g., conferences, repositories like SSRN, research grant information, original data etc).

Then it means learning how to protect your creation – that calls for professional advise.  In some universities the Office of Research Services (or whatever your U’s intellectual property office is called) will be ready and able to help you.  In other cases, it means finding an appropriate attorney (i.e. legal counsel) to help you defend your claim.

Now remember, this is all predicated on the paper being plagiarized in a Predatory Publisher – any decent journal will follow COPE’s (Committee on Publication Ethics) guidelines to deal with allegations of plagiarism.  In latter blog posts I will talk about what “decent” journals do!!!

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