Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Monthly Archives: July 2018

At the American Accounting Association

In one of my rare visits to Trump’s America, I will be attending the AAA meeting in Washington next week. I look forward to seeing the ABO executive in person at their meeting on Monday morning, meeting with editors, editorial board members, and authors/potential authors!!

I will be speaking at the panel on field research on Monday morning right after the plenary. My doctoral student, Yi Luo and I, have a paper on the program and she will be presenting it.

I also will be attending the Senior Editors meeting with the AAA Publications Committee. There are lots of issues to discuss but in typical AAA style it appears that the communication will all be one way. Not only has there been no agenda announced, there has been no call for input on issues that the editors might like to discuss.

So if you see me say hello! If you want to chat longer and you know so in advance email me to fix a time!


With our modern day editorial systems submitting papers can be more challenging than it should be. As editors of journals that I submit to know, I am not the best at adapting to these systems. But I do try to be complete and if I screw up I immediately inform the editor.

A long term issue that really grates on me is authors leaving out the research instrument, or submitting one that cannot be read without a microscope!! Nearly all journals that accept survey, experimental or field research require the instrument ( using the term loosely to include interview prompts). Yet my recent experience at BRIA and my longer term experience at CAR suggests that between one third and one half of all such manuscripts are submitted without them or with one that is not readable.

Authors, what sort of impression do you think that makes on the individual who assigns editors and reviewers? Is that really how you want to start the review process, already down by a goal (especially if that goal is a soccer/ football goal)? It is a tough game we play so at least get right the things you can control!

What do you do with a tardy editor?

Luckily so far I have not had to deal with one, but it has been on my mind a lot lately given some pretty signficant delays I have encountered at a variety of journals for my own research. 60 plus days from reviews being submitted to editor decision, 75 days for an editor decision on a final round (no this is not PO’B at CAR – she was in a whole other category entitled 100’s of days) etc.

So what is a Senior Editor/Editor-in-chief to do when someone you trusted enough to ask to be your Editor turns out to be afraid of making decisions (or moves too slow or is too lazy or is overcommited).  Indeed, I have heard of journals where one of the co-editors-in-chief could not make a decision!!!  So what do you do?

First, you continue to love and respect them.  You admired them when you asked them to be an Editor with you and that has not changed.  Try always to remember that when you are pulling your hair out, blaming them for your hair turning grey or for falling out!!!

Second, you “remove” them from the job.  After several assignments (after all who is not a bit slow the first time they edit a paper) and a clear performance improvement chat that included blunt talk about service standards, they should not be assigned more papers. Why?  Because it is like looking for the lost contact where the light is good rather than where the contact was lost!!! or It is like pressing the same set of buttons on a remote control hoping that a different response will come from the devise!! or Attempting the same computer command time after time expecting it to work different!  NOT GONNA HAPPEN – guaranteed!!!!  This should be obvious by the end of the first year of a three year term so do it now!!!!@

So what does “remove” mean?  Maybe they are still a great reviewer – so assign them reviews to do!  Maybe they can organize conferences well – well assign them conference tasks!  But what it does mean is that you as the Senior Editor/EIC have to get a new person to edit that type of manuscript.  Yep, it is a hazzle and yep it comes just as you are getting really busy at the start of your second year – but consider the alternative – two more years of reminding, nagging, apologizing for the editor, etc etc etc.  Talk about losing a friend! Better to bite the bullet (no idea why that phrase is used but it means “do it now”) than carry on.

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