Ilse Zigurs, Matt Germonprez, Yi Maggie Guo, and Stacie Petter lead a discussion of academic publishing.

Remember: if you think journals aren’t doing the right thing, letting the good stuff through the gate, check the mirror: what decisions are you making as a reviewer?

Petter looks for articles to engage in a conversation with the journal; i.e., she’s o.k. with a journal expecting papers to have some citation of previous articles in the journal. Recall, that’s a pretty controversial conversation. Do we have to cite a specific journal to engage in the broader conversation of our discipline? Petter says it is odd to read a paper on a topic that doesn’t relate at all to anything previously discussed in the journal. The ethical problem lies in the manipulation of cite count.

Petter as reviewer keeps marked-ip first drafts of her reviews to check resubmissions to see if the authors really revised. She can live with an author disagreeing with her, but she has caught some papers saying they made revisions when they really didn’t — naughty!

Petter says you shouldn’t shift the bar from first review to second: if you review a paper and say, “Fix A, B, and C,” don’t turn around on the revised version and say, “Oh, now fix D, E, and F.” If authors do what you tell them, they deserve to win.

Germonprez talks about relations with practitioners. He says you can get good connections from former students, alumni, advisory councils, scholarship donors. Understand that you can’t force relationships to fit the questions you want to investigate. You just have to roll with practitioners, let research opportunities present themselves.

Action research: Germonprez says it’s not a method! It simply recognizes that the research cycle and problem-solving cycle are complementary processes and expects you to at least walk through both cycles once. Germonprez prefers to call it a framing mechanism, a way of looking at the world. When you implement your action, you will use some established research method as well as some problem-solving method.

Germonprez finds “the Hevner stuff” about design science very IT-artifact-based… and I think I caught a hint that he wouldn’t consider it a separate methodology either. Petter notes there’s been discussion in the lit of whether design science is action research (or vice versa).

Guo talks about authoring and getting published. She says you should always think about your contribution: What’s the new question, the new phenomenon, the new knowledge, the new methodological advance?

Guo digs collaboration (gee, where’d my SPN idea come from?) for generating new ideas, getting diverse expertise, running parallel projects (good for productivity for tenure app!). But don’t collaborate with potential external reviewers for tenure review… at least not with folks whom you think would give you a really good review. (But this is silly: should you restrict good avenues of research based on the hope of getting good reviews at tenure review time? If this is really a concern, something is broken here. Sure: identify the best experts, then don’t collaborate with them. Another prof puts it well: following this strategy involves denying yourself something really big, collaboration with top scholars, in exchange for a non-deterministic hope, a gamble. Collaborate! Research now! Let the tenure chips fall where they may. Or think of it this way: you’re more likely to boost your chances for tenure by producing really good collaborative research than by trying to game the external review.)

(If a tree falls in MISQ but no one cites it, does it make a sound?)

Prof in audience: if your career becomes a game, it’s time to step back and rethink. Research isn’t a game: it’s a pursuit of knowledge, of things that interest you. Unfortunately, early in your career, you owe a lot to the academy and do have to play the game.

[By the way, the panel is 3 women and 1 man. The audience: 14 men, 1 woman.]

Omar asks about publishing multidisciplinary research: Zigurs cites a quote about the interesting things happening at the interstices. All recommend tailoring the paper to the audience.