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Soliciting bold research: an update from the IJOPM editors

Soliciting bold research: an update from the IJOPM editors

We want to take this EurOMA Newsletter as an opportunity to update you on our initiatives for IJOPM. Since we are all operations and supply chain management researchers and the EICs of an operations management journal, our focus was to strive for operations excellence in the journal. Borrowing a concept from Hayes and Wheelwright (1984), we believe that we transformed the Journal from an externally neutral function into an externally supportive function that provides the basis for competitive advantage. We have already received broad feedback from numerous scholars in the field appreciating the straightforward, constructive, balanced and rich review experience they have become to enjoy in IJOPM, which has only been possible due to the big effort expended by the editorial team. The following indicators give the 5-year trajectory of average days taken from original submission until decision, excluding desk rejects. Immediately after taking over the editorship in October 2017, we implemented the new review process.

In order to focus on high quality submissions, our desk rejection rate has been rather high (+80%). This, however, is only beneficial to both authors and reviewers, since it saves them valuable time and resources: authors can move on and reposition the paper immediately for a more appropriate outlet and reviewers are guaranteed to only assess papers of which we believe have some chance of finally getting accepted. We are convinced that this is the fundamental notion of a value-added and responsive peer review process, which is respective of all stakeholders and their time and energy. To offer some further insight, the majority desk rejects is due to the paper being out of scope based on methodological and/or topical reasons. The remainder of the desk rejects were primarily based on the limited contribution of the paper. However, those papers that were then sent out for review (i.e. that were not desk rejected), had a likelihood of acceptance of significantly more than 50%. Overall, submissions are on a healthy level, with an anticipated 900 total submissions for 2019.

While submissions from countries that had lower representation in prior volumes has increased, and while we have been able to improve diversity (e.g. submissions from Asia and North America), the quality of submissions and acceptance rates vary significantly by region. We are actively addressing this issue via numerous measures. Most prominently, we are holding publishing workshops and journal presentations at leading world and regional conferences, but also in conjunction with befriended journals (e.g. the Journal of Supply Chain Management and the Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management). More than 15 of such sessions have been offered per year and forthcoming events for 2019 are currently being planned. 

From an editorial point of view, we do not want to suggest future research streams in this short overview and update here. However, what we would like to share is the pressing need for our discipline to pursue research that is bold in nature. Due to institutional pressures, manuscript submissions are increasingly becoming similar in terms of topics, research questions and research models with diminishing effects of return in terms of contribution and newness across the field. It is however encouraging for us to observe that we have a large number of submissions that are different and bold, that stand out from the field, and that pursue a unique contribution to theory and practice. What researchers may underestimate is the high likelihood of being invited for a revision if original research is being pursued (and original means not that a further parameter is injected to an otherwise similar research model, or a qualitative case research is pursued with expected outcomes that could have been generated without empirical data). With bold, new research, we mean the application of innovative methodologies, or novel data collection and analysis techniques—these issues do not necessarily have to be new to science, but they should be new to our discipline. At the same time, we do not want to suggest to authors to be sloppy in their execution of new approaches (validity and reliability standards are still critical), but we rather want to encourage researchers to investigate new areas that received little attention in the operations and supply chain management arena. We will do our best to encourage the review team to be open to such research that wants to charter new territories. Be bold!

Constantin Blome, Cristina Gimenez & Tobias Schoenherr