Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Getting old and reading reviews

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I do not know if it is just me, but in my younger days I looked forward to engaging with the ” thrust and parry” of the review process! I could not wait to read the reviews and get back to work at convincing the reviewers and the editors that I had something worthy to say.

i still enjoy workshopping papers! The tougher the questioning the more I enjoy being the main course at a cannibals feast!

But reading reviews, the fun has gone out of it for me. I am tired of reviewers who give opinions without support (my favourite was a JAR reviewer who said of one of my negotiation papers that it was obvious I was clueless about the process of actual negotiation).

Writing a good review is a craft and it is not a navel gazing exercise that is a licensee to spew out whatever comes to mind. It should never begin with I do not agree with the conclusions of this paper unless you are prepared to put forward solid evidence that backs up your claim.

As an Editor and as an author your unsupported review opinions should not be seen as evidence. Unfortunately, for a lot of younger editors these unsupported opinions are seen as evidence. One of the key things I ask myself as an editor is ” where is the support for the reviewers opinion?” Often, I agree with the recommendation of the reviewer but find it hard to write the decision letter if I base in only on what the reviewers have written. Then I face the challenge, how much do I put of my analysis, with supporting evidence, in the decision letter?


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