Getting Published is Hard to Do

Topic: Off the Wall
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (JAN 2010)
Article: Publishing today is more difficult than ever
Authors: N. Ashkanasy
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

As editor-in-chief of the Journal of Organizational Behavior (JOB), Neal Ashkanasy opens the first issue of 2010 with a commentary on how dramatically publishing in applied psychology has changed in recent years.  He recalls a time when obvious rejections were quite frequent and easy to spot due to poor quality writing and research.  According to Ashkanasy, those days appear to be over as only a very small percentage of journal submissions are of obviously poor quality. Additionally, the quantity of submissions to the top I/O journals is increasing dramatically.  For instance, in 2009, JOB received twice as many submission as it did in 2007 (WOW, I know!).

Importantly, Ashkanasy offers several recommendations that are relevant to practitioners and early career researchers (e.g., graduate students) interested in publishing. Researchers should…

1.    Present their research at conferences before submitting it to journals. Professional conferences are great places to receive critical feedback that can improve the quality of a manuscript.

2.    Stay away from single administration, self-report studies. Although not necessarily “bad”, reviewers are much more accepting of multi-source studies.

3.    Seriously consider reviewer comments even if an article is rejected and sent to another journal. The I/O world is relatively small and I/O scholars often serve as reviewers for many journals.

4.    Do not submit an article if its contribution is unclear. The take-home message of the article should make sense and should pass the “so what?” test.

5.    Build a solid theoretical backing for their study . Many of the top journals are stressing THEORY, which is explanatory and is not simply a listing a past research findings.

As for the future, Ashkanasy posits that I/O journal articles will become shorter in length, in order to present more research findings with the same journal space. Ultimately, this commentary should increase our confidence in the quality of the research published in the top I/O journals. And although this commentary may be discouraging to researchers, the prestige and sense of accomplishment that comes along with publishing will inevitably increase as publishing in the top I/O journals becomes more and more difficult.

Ashkanasy, N. (2010). Publishing today is more difficult than ever. Journal of
Organizational Behavior, 31(1), 1-3.