Discovery and Communication of Important Marketing Findings: Evidence and Proposals
My review of empirical research on scientific publication led to the following conclusions. Three criteria are useful for identifying whether findings are important: replication, validity, and usefulness. A fourth criterion, surprise, applies in some situations. Based on these criteria, important findings resulting from academic research in marketing seem to be rare. To a large extent, this rarity is due to a reward system that is built around subjective peer review. Rather than using peer review as a secret screening process, using an open process likely will improve papers and inform readers. Researchers, journals, business schools, funding agencies, and professional organizations can all contribute to improving the process. For example, researchers should do directed research on papers that contribute to principles. Journals should invite papers that contribute to principles. Business school administrators should reward researchers who make important findings. Funding agencies should base decisions on researchers' prior success in making important findings, and professional organizations should maintain web sites that describe what is known about principles and what research is needed on principles.
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