Article and rationale:
Thibault Daudigeos and Thomas J. Roulet (2018) Editorial – Open-access Management Research at a Turning Point: Giving Relevance to a Stigmatized Object, M@n@gement, 21(4): 1178-1185.
Thomas J. Roulet: This recent editorial depicts the most recent challenges faced by the journal.
Download PDF: OAB M@n@gement
Excerpt: THE STIGMA OF OPEN ACCESS: RECONCILING TRUE ACCESS AND QUALITY
When academics think about open-access journals, they tend to think about predatory or vanity publishing – outlets that publish anything in exchange for a fee. Those predatory outlets have legitimized themselves by calling themselves open access (making junk science freely available does not make it worthier) and thereby perverted the reputation of the movement. “Legitimate” open-access journals can suffer courtesy stigma by being associated with peers that are not as virtuous (Shymko & Roulet, 2017). Competing outlets, supported by private editorial companies, tend to play on those categorization errors to disregard open-access journals. It also seems that some people strive to discredit open-access journals, especially in social sciences. Last spring, we received a series of fake submissions: papers that look like real research articles at first glance, but revealed themselves to be merely sophisticated juxtaposition of sentences and data upon further reading. These repeated submissions stopped only when we contacted the various fake authors to complain that dealing with their submissions took time and disturbed our efforts to promote quality in open-access journals.
Indeed, and contrary to the aforementioned stigma, M@n@gement has chosen from the outset to build on a rigorous and selective process of publishing. We have never traded access against quality. We would like here to spotlight the importance of the academic conversation that takes place between authors, reviewers and the associate editors around each of the papers that go through the publishing process of M@n@gement. This only functions because we can count on the devotion and hard work of our reviewers and associate editors, whose voluntary service is consistent with our positioning as an open-access journal. Our careful selection of reviewers is driven by the will to create the best academic conversation possible, encompassing empirical, theoretical, methodological and writing style considerations. Most of our reviewers are experienced researchers, with work published in renowned international journals, who manage to give a bit of their very scarce time for our journal. We are very grateful to them. Of course, it is not always easy to find three perfect matches for every paper we send for review – nevertheless, our average of 2.8 reviewers per paper this year is a source of great pride. Our review process has gained the reputation of being developmental, and as a result growing numbers of young researchers send us promising articles coming out of their dissertations, learning a lot through the exercise. Overall, this process ensures that all accepted academic articles have gone through a sound and developmental conversation between peers, which renders the journal quite consistent in terms of quality.
Like every academic journal, we feel the pressure to shorten the review process and the time to publish after first submission. Of course, this pursuit is legitimate, and some top journals now provide incredibly short rounds and review processes. Once again, we do not want to risk trading pace for quality. One way to deal with this while continuing to increase the quality of our process has been to increase the number of associate editors who bring their expertise and network of potential reviewers to the journal. Eight associate editors now directly manage their own streams of submissions. Aside from some rare outliers, the average time for first decision is 67 days for papers sent for review, and less than 10 days for desk rejected papers, on average. Furthermore, being an online journal considerably reduces the time between final acceptance and publication, which makes our process relatively fast in comparison to other journals. Another reason for pride!
We see our open-access approach as a tool to attract good submissions and good authors for those who are concerned about the accessibility and the shared ownership of scientific knowledge. While rankings have limited interest in the financial models and ideals of a journal, we hope to endogenously continue raising the quality of the work we publish by making open access one of our main selling points at a time when major publishing models are challenged. In a post-truth era (Kurchaki, 2016; McIntyre, 2018) where the frontier between opinion pieces and scientific articles is fuzzier than ever, high-quality open-access research is needed.