Appendix B: Initiatives and opportunities to change the status quo
Category 1: Initiatives on improving research relevance
2. The UK Stern Report (2016) calls for a broadening of the definition of impact to embrace public engagement, culture and pedagogy as well as the traditional emphasis on policy and applications. It advises that impact and research environment be combined in the next REF assessment to form 35% of the weighting.
3. National Science Foundation
Proposals submitted to NSF are evaluated on two criteria: Intellectual merit and broader impacts. The former refers to the extent the proposed research advances knowledge and understanding within its own field and across fields, and the extent to which the research suggests and explores creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts? The latter refers to the benefits of te proposed research to society, including impact on learning, education, and practice. NSF provides a paper explaining the broader impacts criterion and representative activities.
4. Initiatives by scholarly journals
Leading business and management journals encourage studying grand challenges, important societal issues, practical and relevant research.
Some journals are publishing editorials to encourage research on important society issues. For example, the Academy of Management Journal (http://amj.aom.org) calls for timely research (2014-2016). The editor Gerry George (2014-2016 term) called for new research on new topics important in the contemporary era. The topics include climate change and management (June, 2014 issue), aging populations and management (August 2014 issue), organizations with purpose (Oct 2014), rethinking governance and management research (Dec 2014). In December 2016 (Volume 59, issue 6), it publishes a special issue on “grand challenges in management” See introduction to the forum by George, Howard-Grenvillle, Joshi, and Tihanyi (2016).
Journal of Marketing and the Academy of Management Discoveries are planning special issues on grand challenges in marketing and research to support the implementation of United Nations’ sustainable development goals, respectively. Two journals in operational management have initiatives to motivate researchers to conduct practice-oriented research and to engage practitioners.
(a) M&SOM practice-drive research competition
(b) POMS applied research challenge
5. Community engaged scholarship
At the University of Minnesota (UM) and by Prof. Andy Van de Ven
UM provides a good example of engaging the community in research. This webpage describes the public engagement of research researchers in various disciplines: http://www.engagement.umn.edu. Public engagement is the partnership of university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to advance research, teaching and outreach. Since the publication of his book Engaged Scholarship (Van de Ven, 2007), Professor Andy Van de Ven, a faculty at the Carlson School of Management, U of Minnesota, is a strong advocate of co-production of knowledge with research subjects. See this website for his doctoral course on how to conduct research through engagement with the organizations and individuals being studied.
Category 2: Initiatives on improving research quality
6. Center for Open Science offers The Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) guidelines.
Established in 2015, COS holds the view that “transparency, open sharing, and reproducibility are core values of science”, and that “journals, funders and scholarly societies can increase reproducibility of research by adopting TOP guidelines.” “Published in 2015, TOP includes eight modular standards, each with three levels of increasing stringency. Journals select which of the eight transparency standards they wish to adopt for their journal, and select a level of implementation for each standard. These features provide flexibility for adoption depending on disciplinary variation, but simultaneously establish community standards.” As of November 20, 2016, the COS website has 763 journal and 65 organizational signatories expressing support of openness, transparency and reproducibility and agree to review and potentially adopt the standards. TOP
7. Business and management journals to improve the quality of empirical research
Strategic Management Journal (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/smj.2016.37.issue-2/issuetoc) calls for repeatable results with emphasis on data accessibility and transparency. It will lead a major change in the field in terms of supporting replication research to ensure the robustness and reliability of findings (Bettis, et al., 2016). This effort is laudable because reliability is a foundational requirement of responsible science and a necessary condition to societally relevant research. Management and Organization Review, which publishes research in China and emerging economies, has also developed policies of replication, data accessibility and two stage review process to prevent the problem of post-hoc hypothesizing and cherry picking of results in research paper (Lewin, et al., Management and Organizational Review, December 2016 issue, in press). Many other journals have already or soon to introduce similar polities, such as OBHDP, and Journal of International Business Studies. American Economic Association has a data availability policies for its journals, including AER, AEJ, AEL, and AEP (see AEA website)
8. Industrial and organizational psychology and management journal editors pledge to uphold ethics in publications,
2011/2012 marked an important year for research and publishing ethics. The world press highlighted numerous data fraud scandals, Science published papers and commentaries on the use of coercive citations among journals, and journals faced criticism for engaging in tactics more focused on engorging impact factors than the advancement of science per se. At the same time, this period showcased public dialog on the topic of research ethics among major professional associations, and journals featured special issues seeking to define the normative ethical practices of authors, reviewers, and editors. In response to this, a group of Editors from the fields of Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Management assembled to draft a voluntary Code of Conduct defining some general behaviors they agree are important to maintaining the ethics and integrity of scientific inquiry. Since that time the list of signatories has grown to include over 200 Editors and Associate Editors.
Category 3: Initiatives on improving the accuracy of research contribution assessment
9. San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment.
On December 16, 2012, 155 editors and publishers of scholarly journals in a variety of disciplines, mostly in biological sciences, representing 82 organizations worldwide gathered in San Francisco to sign a declaration with specific suggestions for a new framework for assessing research contribution. They declared: Do not use journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, as a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decisions. The Declaration offers specific recommendation for funding agencies, institutions, publishers, and organizations that supply metrics. Basically, they are arguing development criteria and methods that put science back into assessing research. Scholars in business and management also have written about this issue and discourage tenure and promotion committees to rely solely on publications in the A-journals as a measure of research quality and contribution.