16 Jun 2021
Sasin Research Seminar -International Research Collaboration on Research Impact Assessment Series On June 9, 2021, Sasin held a special research seminar event on ‘Publishing Research with Impact’. The seminar looked at academic publishing with industry insiders giving their points of view along with advice and tips for those looking to publish their research and, specifically, for those wanting to publish with impact. Richard Welford, Senior Research Fellow, Sasin School of Management and Editor of the Journals: Business Strategy and the Environment, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, Business Strategy and Development and Sustainable Development. Richard Welford began by asking: what is the difference between publishing with academic impact as opposed to social impact? He argued that it is tough to separate the two. Simply being published in well-known journals has a significant impact. Richard said that what is most important is being published in the best possible journal. By this, he meant the best journal for the research topic and what the writer is trying to say and the importance of aiming for top-tier, high-impact publications. Looking ahead, Richard stressed that he would like more articles that are granular and less general. He would also like research to look at issues such as gender, LGBT, diversity, and the environment. Richard also advised researchers to look at the journals more before submitting to get a feel for what is published and suggested talking to the editor first. He also pointed out that to make an impact, articles and research shouldn’t end with academic publishing – they can be repackaged for a broader audience. John Thøgersen, Professor at Aarhus School of Business, and Editor of the Journal of Consumer Policy. In John Thøgersen’s presentation, ‘Research with Positive Societal Impact’, he discussed the importance of publishing in the best publications and advised on how that can be achieved. He said the most critical factors were to be interesting and to have methodological rigor. Referring to work by Kumar, John reiterated the importance of ‘rigor and relevance’. When it comes to publishing, having both of these factors working together, and not in opposition, best serves the marketing community and will have the most impact. They will also increase the likelihood of being published in the top journals. John then discussed an example of eco-labelling and research that was published in less prestigious journals. The study had less of an impact at first until it was picked up by science journals, resulting in actual change in the real world. Like Richard, John said that he believes academic and societal impact go hand-in-hand. He also said he would love to see more high-quality work from Asia. Helen Beddow, Impact Services Lead at Emerald Publishing; and Jo Jones, Publishing Development Manager, Emerald Publishing. Jo Jones spoke next and questioned what is actually meant by research impact. She defines impact as the measurable change and benefit that research has in the real world. These are changes that can be felt beyond academia that resulted from the research and impacted society, the economy or the environment. The changes are of tangible benefit in the ‘real world’ and can be, for example, a reduction in mortality, crime or stress, or improved efficiency, skills or engagement. Jo stressed that these changes could be incremental. Helen Beddow emphasized the need to think strategically when talking about impact. Academics research because they want to make positive change, but they aren’t the ones who tend to implement these changes. This means the imperative is to get the research into the hands of those who can make things happen. That requires strategic thinking. Helen then explained ‘impact literacy’. This is the idea that academics need to understand, appraise and make decisions about how to connect research to the outside world. Impact literacy and strategic planning are necessary as researchers must identify why the research is being conducted and who it is for.

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A lively discussion followed the presentations as the four experts fielded questions and gave further advice. Topics discussed included data collection, the balance between research and working with stakeholders, theory versus impact, and the effects of Covid-19 on academia.
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