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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 . . . .).

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!!!

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 have we accepted at BRIA – Year 1?

I have been remarking as I travel around the world that the volume of manuscripts has not changed much over previous years but the quality has gone way up!!!  This presents both good news and challenges.  For a world of accounting that likes to focus on rejection rates, sorry folks, my rejection rate is going down.  For the world of scholarship – good news – we are accepting articles that would have a problem finding a home elsewhere despite their being important topics.

The first paper our team accepted was a field study of governance committees (by Dana Hermanson et al forthcoming in issue 1 of 2019).  Governance Committees are second order actors in issues that accountants study themselves (i.e. governance pick the pool that is available to fill the audit committee, etc). Furthermore, the authors objected to a lot of excessive theorizing – we know from lots of field studies in North American governance at least that it takes a combination of agency, resource based view and power theories in order to account for the diversity of practices in corporate governance.  Nonetheless, the paper had been done very well and we decided that the push for excess theorizing was getting a little out of hand.  Mind you, we requested that the authors do more theoretical analysis than they wanted, but in the end we had a meeting of the minds!

Round 2 of the impact factor wars – JCR reports earlier this week

Scopus and their impact factor index (Citescore) had a day in the sun when I was at the EAA in Milano!  The top ten rankings they came up with were as follows:

Source title CiteScore
Management Accounting Research 4.53
Journal of Accounting and Economics 4.36
Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 4.33
Journal of Accounting Research 4.29
British Accounting Review 3.31
Accounting Review 3.24
Critical Perspectives on Accounting 3.18
Meditari Accountancy Research 3.02
Accounting, Organizations and Society 2.94
Journal of Accounting Literature 2.61

Notice the absence of some of the leading players as we like to think of them.  CAR and RAST were not in the top ten of CiteScore.

Fast forward a few weeks and JCR reports from Clairviate Analytics came in

Full Journal Title Journal Impact Factor
Management Accounting Research 3.800
Critical Perspectives on Accounting 3.182
Accounting Auditing & Accountability Journal 2.911
British Accounting Review 2.232
European Accounting Review 2.169

Some strong similarities.  The similarities include:

  1. the high ranking of Management Accounting Research (kudos to Wim and his team)
  2. the return of JAR as a contender for top accounting cited journal
  3. The missing of RAST from both lists and the fact that CAR only makes it into the second due to rounding error.
  4. The grouping of a new top three JAR, JAE, and MAR with several journals knocking at the door AAAJ, CPA, BAR and TAR.

An unbalanced GMARS – year 2

No I am not talking about the state of mind of the organizers, albeit with the amount of work they have to put into this every third year (just long enough to forget the details from the last time they hosted it) they may well feel that way at the time!  No what I am talking about it the virtual absence of archival management accounting research at the conference.

If my memory serves me correctly, a few years ago the unbalancing was on the side of field research – where it was relatively rare to have more than one or two sessions of field work.  In the last two GMARS the absence of archival management accounting research has been striking – not even enough papers for one full session.

On the plus side, GMARS is a beacon for diversity in management accounting research with experimental economics, psychology experiments, survey research, and all flavours of field research (positivist and interpretivists with the odd critical paper). Nonetheless, just as a few years ago when I saw the lack of field work a drawback, I am now seeing the lack of archival based economics work as a constraint to the success of what I think of as the best management accounting conference in the world.

(As an aside to a certain Texan, note that my defense of diversity is not based on my preferred methods being better represented but rather on the basis of what is needed to allow for an excellent exchange of ideas across research approaches.)

My European “junket”

When I set out to be BRIA Senior Editor, I promised the ABO executive that I would not be hiding behind my desk but out actively promoting the journal so that its innovations would be obvious around the world.  Last Spring/Summer it was Australia where I got to connect with a great group of authors and potential authors for BRIA as well as some key people on my Editorial Team.  This spring/summer brings me to Europe where I will be in attendance at the European Accounting Association in Milan, the Dutch Foundation for Audit Research in Amsterdam, the International Symposium on Audit Research in Maastricht, and the Global Management Accounting Research Symposium in Copenhagen.  My normal mix, an open accounting conference, an academic practitioner conference, an audit conference and a management accounting conference.

What BRIA innovations will I highlight?

  • Replications – and encouraging more replications
  • Survey instrument validation – separating the development of instruments from the substantive application in a way that is persuasive
  • Methods pieces – how to do BAR research better and or differently
  • Theory pieces – applying theory to social and behavioral accounting research in novel ways
  • Field research as a foundational behavioral approach.

While we are not ignoring our history of producing significant original research, we recognize there are many competitors in that market.  However, despite the rhetoric from some other journals, we are serious about our innovations (if I wanted to cast stones, I would suggest you look at the first regular issue of the Journal of Finanical Reporting (volume 2 no. 1) and see how little innovation is actually present – but of course I would not do that!!!!) So if you see me (and at 195 cm or 6′ 5″ it is not hard to do) chat with me!!!  I look forward to seeing you on your “home turf”!



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