Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Losing your voice as a young researcher


I have been surprised in my time in Europe at the prevalence of young authors ceding almost complete control of their papers to reviewers and editors.  I have lost track of the number of times that questions about choices made in the paper were justified solely from the point of view “the reviewers/editor made me do it.” Period – nothing more about what the author learned from what the reviewer or editor said; nothing more about whether their view changed (indeed it often seemed the opposite – they still held their original view); just slavish acceptance and an instrumental response to making the change.

The future of academic research in accounting is highly threatened by letting reviewers and editors write your papers.  The only thing you have as a young scholar is your “voice” and if you are prepared to sell your “voice” for the sake of a easy route to publication, the long term prognosis for your research, your self-esteem and your ability to bring an independent view of the world is decreased substantially.

That is not to say that you ignore the reviewers and editors. Rather, you critically evaluate their suggestions, and where they are helpful, adopt them; where they require added explanation, explain it; and where they are not acceptable, explain why.  Often, given thoughtful analysis, a much stronger paper will emerge from a thoughtful integration of the reviewers ideas with yours as the author.

So it may be faster and easier route to short term publication in the end if you lose your “voice” you have almost lost your “soul”. The short term success will lead to long term pain –  you become like the salesman in “Death of A Salesman”.


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