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Meet the editor of... Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

An interview with: Ian Phau

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Image: Dr Ian PhauDr Ian Phau is Senior Lecturer and Honours Program Manager in the School of Marketing at Curtin Business School, Curtin University of Technology, the largest university in Western Australia. He has extensive teaching experience in the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, and has received awards for both his teaching and research. Widely published, his research has focused on country image, brand personality, consumer animosity, consumer ethnocentrism and nostalgic appeals in communication. His business experience includes management consulting and market research in the luxury fashion industry in Europe and Asia. He has also been involved in several research and consulting projects. Recent portfolios include Hugo Boss Australia, Action Supermarkets, Araluen Botanic Park, Freja Hairstyling, and Fotronics China.

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics (APJML) had its first issue under that title at the beginning of 2006, the fruit of a merger between two journals, the Journal of Asia Pacific Marketing and Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, retaining the name of the second journal. The intention was to create a forum for an in-depth understanding of the trends and developments, recognizing the dynamic impact of Asian Pacific marketing and logistics in the international arena. APJML is aimed at both practitioners and academics and includes articles on marketing strategy, relationship marketing, cross-cultural issues, consumer markets and buying behaviour, managing marketing channels, logistics, branding, segmentation, marketing theory, new product development, marketing research, integrated marketing communications, legal and public policy, as well as ones written from a cross national and cross cultural perspective.

 Personal background

Can you tell us a bit about your own background?

[I came here] by accident! I was working in the luxury branding industry in Paris, and I left to join an academic institution in Holland. I went home to Singapore for a short holiday before the start of the semester. Then some ex colleagues invited me to join Curtin – and because it was closer to home and had better winters I decided to switch camp! The invitation was supposed to be for two years, but I was offered tenure after nine months and stayed on. As of August 2006 I have been here for six years.

In practice, many academics find a conflict between being a good researcher and a good teacher, simply because doing either one of these well takes time. How do you manage to keep so many balls in the air?

There is no conflict – I think that to say that is a myth. When teachers complain that they have no time for research it’s because there is no passion, and they want things easy. Researchers say they can’t do good research because they are stuck with teaching – in reality they do not like to teach! To be a good lecturer, you need to be a good researcher; students are not stupid and they question what you say. If you have research expertise and experience (which manifests itself in publications), as well as actual industry and consulting work, you will have more credibility. Furthermore, as a lecturer you can only be “good” if you get energy from the students, from whom many ideas come. You motivate them, they give you the stimulus and the end result is that both parties benefit.

 Journal mission

Tell us about the background of the journal – why did you found Journal of Asia Pacific Marketing and why was it re-launched in 2006 as Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics?

I was approached to edit JAPM probably because of my research focus with issues in the Asia Pacific. It took a lot of hard work but the profile was well established within the first two years. When Emerald bought over the journal, I was honoured to be appointed as the Editor of the combined journal.

Combining the journals was Emerald’s idea – I would have preferred two separate journals. However, having said that, they do complement each other in many ways, and it does give the journal a wider spectrum. APJML includes the logistics component which I see as more industry and practice focused. This is a gap in the publishing industry, the journals in this area being more academic.

Why is there a need for a journal which looks at marketing and logistics specifically in the Asia Pacific region?

Why Asia Pacific? I think this is the region where there is a lot of activity at the moment and will be in years to come. Some say that this is the decade of China (and this is reflected in the number of submissions from that area). I personally see India as assuming greater prominence, especially towards the end of the decade. Australia and New Zealand will also have a significant role to play especially when there are so many collaborations between those two countries and Asia. This is where the countries with the world’s greatest populations are. Consumer trends, globalisation issues, distribution networks are ever changing; thus it is very important that they are tracked and monitored.

Can you describe the journal’s primary and secondary audience in terms of their occupation and where they are based?

At the moment, it is primarily academic in nature. But from 2007, there will be a new addition which will have a more practitioner slant. These include “Industry Spotlight” which looks at issues from the perspective of managers and CEOs, in addition to the regular sections of research notes (shorter research projects), re-enquiries (papers which look at replication of previous research) etc. Editorial board members will also write about “new trends” in their respective expert research. These sections will be incorporated into the journal as appropriate.

Will your journal be the main source of information in the area, or will you have competition? If so, what is it and how do you position yourself?

There will of course lots of competition mainly from Emerald publications. But I like to see it as complementary to journals such as European Journal of Marketing, etc. in that it provides particular area coverage.

 Editorial scope

The journal aims to bridge the gap between academics and practitioners but the papers in your first two issues are all research based. How do you intend to cater for practitioners?

As from 2007 we intend to provide a section aimed at practitioners, with viewpoints, research digests and case studies, written partly by members of our editorial board although we would welcome other contributions from industry consultants!

Are there any key issues (such as for example the e-revolution) and emergent themes which you would particularly like to publish articles on?

Much of the above comments are relevant here – I am looking to expand the practitioner coverage, and I would also expect there to be more articles on India, and also on Australia and New Zealand and the latter area’s links with Asia.

Do you expect that the majority of your authors will come from the Asia Pacific region?

Not in the long run – but that seems to be the case for the moment although there are a lot of joint authors from different regions.

Do you expect the majority of articles to be on India and China as the most vibrant economies in the region?

Very much so! However, we also get a lot from Australia and New Zealand and also from Vietnam. For 2007, we have some papers from Thailand as well.

What are your plans for the next couple of years, for example, have you got any special issues lined up?

We don’t have any specific special issues lined up, but our plans are to publish more papers aimed at practitioners, and to commission issues on specific topics and regions.

 The publishing process

At a recent conference (the Australia and New Zealand Marketing Association, ANZMAC), you had a Meet the Editor session. What were some of the issues and questions raised there?

There was much excitement about the new journal, and many academics wanting to be part of the change – for example as part of the Editorial Advisory Board (EAB). There were also questions about the quality expected of papers.

Can you describe what happens to an article after it lands on your desk?

I will screen it first and then decide on the most appropriate reviewers, which can sometimes be difficult as similar topics come in bulk!! It has to be focussed on the region and must be of sufficiently rigorous. Because it’s a new journal, many consider it as a dumping ground, so we have to be selective and raise the quality of the journal.

Reviewers are given four weeks to review with an additional two weeks if necessary. After four weeks, I will send a gentle reminder. If two reviewers offer diverging comments, we will send to a third reviewer. If need be papers may have to be revised a couple of times before publication. All in all, I would expect about 12 months before publication.

How can authors make reviewers’ lives, and therefore their own in not having their papers rejected or requiring much revision, easier?

Follow the author guidelines on the web pages closely. Check with the editor first if the paper is appropriate for the journal. A good proofread is extremely important. Tables should enhance the findings and be properly labelled and designed.

Do you have authors who have problems with English, and how do you overcome this?

As I said above, proofreading is very important. If English is not your native language then you should get someone who is a good English speaker to go through the paper for you; you can also use Emerald’s own Editing Service.

Do you see yourself as helping authors, if so, how?

Yes, I spend a lot of time communicating with them about dos and don’t. I have written a checklist for them to follow before submission. The hardest thing is to tell them that the paper has to be rejected. But I will try to solicit a third reviewer when I feel the vibes are right.

Publisher's note:

Dr Ian Phau was interviewed in August 2006.

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