Publishing in accounting journals: A fair game?
Publication in the social sciences appears to have evolved into a game, played by four parties: the author, the reviewers, the editor and the bureaucrats using the simple criterion that a quality researcher publishes in quality journals. Acceptance rates for top quality journals now hover around the 10% mark. Something cannot be right with a system which creates so much apparent waste. Either too many authors are submitting substandard articles or too many reviewers are setting unrealistically high hurdles over which authors have to jump. Most of the literature has focussed on the unrealistically high hurdle rate explanation and also on the fallibility of reviewers and editors. The aim of this paper is to explore the issues of low acceptance rates as well as an increasingly lengthy publication process. The paper considers what is the purpose of publishing in academic journals and what are the motivations of authors, reviewers and editors. In order to inform both authors and reviewers of best practice, a summary of the extensive literature is given in the Appendix. The paper concludes with a survey of the suggestions that have been made to improve the publishing process in order to link back to the original purpose of publishing, that of communicating important results to inform public debate on major issues.
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