Journals edited at W. P. Carey bring early access to the newest ideas

The journal Technovation recently published an analysis of business school rankings that use research output as an indicator. Author and editor-in-chief Jonathan Linton looked at Financial Time’s ranking of schools based on publications in the 45 journals deemed most important by the staff of the international business newspaper. Linton then came up with a different list -- the 45 most influential academic journals based on impact. Two journals edited in the W. P. Carey School’s department of supply chain management were at the top of these lists. The Journal of Operations Management -- the discipline’s premier journal – is co-edited by Professor Thomas Choi. It was ranked fourth in the world among the journals in the prestigious Financial Times list and placed fifth on Technovation’s list of high impact publications. The Journal of Supply Chain Management, edited by Associate ProfessorCraig Carter, was listed number two on the high impact list. The fact that two of the top journals in the supply chain management field are edited at the W. P. Carey School is testament to the research muscle of the faculty, but Choi and Carter are not alone in leadership roles. Department Chairman John Fowler is the editor of both IIE Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering and the Journal of Simulation. In total, supply chain management faculty members hold 19 senior or associate editor positions at such respected journals as Production and Operations Management, Journal of Business Logistics, Decision Sciences, and IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing. Many other faculty sit on the editorial advisory boards of most of the leading journals in the field. The efforts of these scholars have helped raise the profile of the department and the university, establishing both as leading centers for thought in the world of supply chain management. “The benefits to the reputation of the institution are large,” says Fowler, who not only edits IIE Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering but was also the journal’s founder. “Leadership of the important journals in a field helps establish the school as a place where exciting research is done and where important advances in the field will emanate.” "It's really increasing the reputation of the department, and also the college," adds Choi. "Scholars from all around the world want to submit to these journals, and when they want to learn more about the journal, they come to a journal web page that lives at the Arizona State system. We're actually the home to these journals, so when they get here, they see that Arizona State logo right at the top, and they see our department name. It gives us an opportunity to make a real impact." For students at every level, these editorships mean that course content will include the very latest thinking. That currency is important to industry, too. W. P. Carey scholars not only contribute to new knowledge creation, they also participate in the vetting and distribution of potentially change-making ideas. Impacting and reflecting practice Carter, a W. P. Carey associate professor of supply chain management, has served as editor for the respected Journal of Supply Chain Management since 2008, and if he's learned anything over these past four years, it's that there are substantial rewards from the work -- for himself, his university and students. "You don't get paid to do this, but the benefits are indirect," Carter says. "This could be my full-time job if I wanted it to be. I could easily spend 40 hours a week on it. But you learn a tremendous amount when you're in this role. I think I'm better now at doing my own research, for instance. So I think serving as editor certainly helps my career, and it helps Arizona State, too." When he took over the editorship four years ago, he and co-editor Lisa Ellram of Miami (Ohio) University (and formerly a W. P. Carey professor of supply chain management) were given the charge of repositioning the journal to better fit with the modern practice of supply chain management. In short, they were asked to breathe some life into the journal, which was first published in 1965 as the Journal of Purchasing. "We were asked to make this the journal of choice for supply chain management scholars across disciplines," Carter said. "So we recreated the Journal’s governance structure, and added a large number of new members to the Advisory, Associate Editor, and Review Boards to reflect that mission. We started soliciting very high-end manuscripts. We've been wildly successful with our efforts, and though I'd like to take credit, I would put it right back on the associate editors and the other board members and of course the authors who have contributed their work." Change is always difficult, and that may be especially true in academia. The Journal of Supply Chain Management was established and went about things in a very traditional manner, so when Carter and Ellram began their efforts to shake things up a bit, there was some pushback. "There were a huge number challenges," he says. "But each time we faced one of those challenges, we were able to overcome them. We're at the point now that when we talk about some new, innovative idea, the push back is less and less. It seems we're over the hump." The internal battles have been won. Perhaps more importantly, though, the journal has also gained enormous new respect from the outside. Once a fringe journal, the Journal of Supply Chain Management is today seen as one of the more important publications in its field. And Carter has the numbers to prove it. "The number of submissions that we're getting has increased substantially,” he says. “Rather than having to ask people to submit high quality papers, they're now coming to us. We'll probably see another 30 percent increase in submissions this year over last year. And we're seeing much higher quality submissions, too." Building on momentum Choi, for his part, faced a somewhat different challenge. When he took over as co-editor of the Journal of Operations Management in July of 2011, it was already seen as a major journal, and leading scholars already wanted to be featured in it (today, the journal boasts an acceptance rate of just 6 percent). "I think it's safe to say that it's seen as one of the premier journals in our field," he says. "It carries a very, very high impact factor." To ensure that it retains that high impact factor, Choi has strived to make sure his journal is served by a strong editorial board. “It ensures that we maintain quality,” he says, and that the journal is represented at virtually every major conference on the schedule. It is a job that demands a lot of travel and, yes, a lot of work, too. But like Carter, he says the benefits are obvious—not only for the school, but for himself as well. “It’s a very time-consuming task, but there are benefits and upsides to it,” he says. “In this role you are able to learn from all of the latest and best scholars in your field. You get to know what they’re thinking and how they’re going about their work. You are exposed to a lot of great minds.” Bird’s eye view of the leading edge Fowler, who says he founded IIE Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering with the hope of providing “an outlet for rigorous studies of practical relevance that will ultimately improve the effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare systems and services,” agrees with Choi on that last point. Though by definition those who edit journals are seen as leaders in their field—one could not achieve such positions without having the respect of their peers—Fowler admits that one of the great perks of running a journal is being able to learn about all of the latest developments in any given field, long before the rest of the world is aware. “I really enjoy being an editor because I get a chance to keep up on the latest developments in our field,” he says. “I also get to know many of the established and emerging scholars in our field.” And, of course, by contrast, those emerging scholars also get to know ASU, and W. P. Carey, and the highly regarded department of supply chain management that is housed there. For the W. P. Carey faculty, it’s a real win-win. “For a university, it certainly helps if you have faculty who are also editors of high quality, high impact journals,” Carter says. “It makes it easier to attract high-quality faculty and retain high-quality faculty. The knowledge we generate also is of huge value to students. Much of the knowledge that is contained in our textbooks is based on research in our leading journals. As editors, we have a ‘sneak peak,’ and we can bring this knowledge to the classroom even sooner.”