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Really, we can’t all publish in the American 3?!

Kris Hardies ( a heck of a good sort and one I am normally sypatico with) recently published a blog entry at the EAA ARC ( ). Really? “No sh*t Sherlock” as an expression, somewhat blue in nature, goes in North America! (Expression means, for non North American English readers, that is not a surprise with an allusion to the famous fictional British “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes).

Kris’s argument is that there are at least 3000 publishing Accounting academics in the world and over a five year period there is not room for three thousand authors in the American Three! But who has agency here?

Is it not our fellow academy members in our own universities that decide we will only count Three ( or 4 or 5 or 6 or 10) journals? When I see commentaries like this I just cringe as it assumes that bright PHD’s have no agency in the matter!! You can find a different school, you can fight for change in your school, you can publish where you want and challenge any negative performance evaluation as arbitrary and unreasonable!

The one thing you should not do is to attempt to blindly conform and not publish your research at all in the best journals you can publish in! After all countless prize winning articles have been published outside the American Three. Yet to not publish at all is the reaction I have seen frequently to such edicts by schools and rants like Kris’s ( sorry Kris . . . .).

A longer blog vacation than a real one!

I thought I would be back blogging a lot sooner than I was! The end of summer rush at BRIA caught me by surprise (although I should know better). A bit more disconcerting was the passing of founding BRIA Editor Ken Euske over the summer! In any event I am back.

First my condolences to Professor Euske’s family. We at BRIA will not leave his death unmarked and there are several folks helping to get together an appropriate memorial article about his contributions to the academy.

Second, we continue to be fortunate with the set of papers sent into BRIA. But folks need to realize I am not, despite my rep in some circles, the journal. Sometimes I will suggest authors submit papers to the journal and both reviewers say “NO”! That is why I have only solicited one paper during my editorship and that paper is a 30 year retrospective about the academic accounting research world from a social and behavioural perspective. All other papers have outcome uncertainty associated with submission. Indeed, the only time I have ever gone against both reviewers saying “NO” is when I ex ante documented why I expected them to say “no” and that is what they said with the expected reasons!

AAA – the broom closet with no room for brooms

About a decade ago if you had held a panel session on qualitative accounting research at the AAA you could have held it in a broom closet with room left over. Today over 100 folks came to a panel discussion at the AAA on quality in qualitative research! Even better was the fact slightly less than half the room had done it and nearly 100% were interested in doing so!

Most of my readers are familiar with my views on research diversity and the need to use the most appropriate methods to identify and address practice issues. Field research enhances your engagement with the field of practice ( however you define practice). And with doctoral programs like Georgia, Illinois, UMASS Amherest all recently graduating PHD’s with this method in their toolkit, we may be on the verge of the breakthrough I have long advocated for in the USA. Further the placements of those students has been stellar Emory, WISCONSIN, Northeastern, and more.

This combined with the first qualitative interview paper being published in TAR in the last 30 years coming this fall, along with the combined survey interview research being done by Shiva Rajgopal (Columbia) and Michel Clements (Texas) and others in financial accounting published in JAE and JAR means the ” big 6″ Accounting journals ( however you define them from among TAR, CAR, AOS, JAE, CPA, JAR, MAR, AAAJ, AJPT, RAST) have all published such research in recent years – many with multiple articles!

And that’s the way I see it at the first day of work at the AAA.

The day before the deluge

Setting here in hot and muggy Washington DC after doing my first event of the AAA.  The joint journal editors/publications committee meeting.   One of the key messages is that there is a strong likelihood of a major disruptive event in academic publishing over the next X years, where X is a small number greater than 6 months and less than 60 months.  I think most editors in the room were oblivious to this trend or the potential importance of it to academic publishing. But then again, as the old saying goes “it is hard to remember the objective was to empty the swamp when you have alligators biting your butt!”  I will let you make the analogy.

What would this event be? It will be likely to be around the integration of data sets, analysis code, video technology and a change in the publishing platform of record – the traditional PDF file towards a technology that easily integrates these other aspects.  Hearing this I am glad that my current research team is working on a video version of our latest research – on audit research knowledge transfer to standard setters.  I thought it would be a good means to communicate our message to the standard setting community but it may indeed become part of the version of record of our final article if these trends move as fast as expected.  Hope to unveil the video by mid-September!!!

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!

more “interesting” BRIA papers

We continue on our mission to learn more about research methods by examining two issues in this first year.

  1. how do on-line worker’s differ from the general population?  W. Brink et al give us some interesting insights into how the values of on-line workers depart from that of the general population.  No surprise here really, I certainly expected them to be different, but what ones? how extensive? were they in areas of interest to accounting researchers?  These are all discussed in this paper.
  2. Recently I accepted a review of dual process theories of human decision making applied to financial accounting and investing.  We recently have seen an uptick in research using dual process theories in both audit and financial accounting research.  Griffiths et al (2016) in AJPT discussed the issue from an audit perspective.  Winchel and Hamilton have a forthcoming piece in BRIA looking at it from the application of finanical accounting. One of the key observations among many that they make is that “heuristic or intuitive or peripheral processing or type 1 thinking” (they all mean in essence the same thing with slight variations) has got a really bad rap over the years, because experimenters set up experimental tasks in such a way that it is rare that deep thinking (i.e. a more rational person approach) does not win.  They point out implicitly, that if this type of thinking was a bad as experimental researchers portray it, we as a species would not have survived so long.  Anyhow, great paper that provides a unifying framework to consider a lot of financial accounting experimental and archival research and that suggests a lot of research directions for the future!  I can foresee a few dissertation papers coming out of this one!!!

One of the neat things about dual process theories is that they are strongly supported by neuroscience evidence and they combine a lot of smaller phenomena (with associated theories) from psychology into one overall theoretical framework.  In other words the commonalities of dual processing theories show that the notion that psychology is all over the map with its theorizing is not really the case.  Those of us who have thought carefully about this know it, but for many researchers (even psychology based ones) they still find this surprising!


What else have we accepted?

Another paper that is sure to raise some interest (and or hackles) is a very careful study (by Khan and Tronnes from Australia) that suggests like other experimental disciplines, audit behavioral research features a little too many just made the cutoff papers (i.e. p<0.05 and P<0.10).  Mind you, on a percentage basis it appears that it is lower that other disciplines but nonetheless it is signficant both statistically and meaningfully.

Some commentators on the paper feared it would be used to show experimental audit researchers in a bad light as it has no evidence about how audit archival researchers trim their data to achieve the same time.  Now, in my mind, finding a problem in one area and documenting it does not mean you have to find all the dirty linen in our academic closets at once.  No doubt others will be coming along shortly showing a similar pattern in archival audit research (matter of fact I know at least two sets of authors doing work in this area).

In any event a paper that had a hard time being published – at least in auditing journals!!!!

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