Good company in a journey makes the journey seems easier . . .
Over the years, we attended a great many conferences, presenting more than 100 papers, and submitted articles to a great many journals, successfully publishing more than 50 articles. In addition, we learned about conferences by serving as program chairs and learned about journals by serving on editorial boards. We experienced a great deal of frustration with referees, especially editorial boards for journals, and became convinced that many good articles were not being published because their authors came from small schools, or because the work was critical of established ways of thinking, or because rejection letters conveyed little valuable information to support revision. We thought that we could improve the process, so in 1994, we decided to try.
We established a not for profit corporation, the International Academy for Case Studies, in 1994. The organization held a conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina , in October of 1994. To our great surprise, 60 people came and the organization made enough money from the registration fees to pay for a journal. We launched the Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, which has become a leader in publishing classroom teaching cases in business.
In 1995, we established another not for profit corporation, the Academy of Entrepreneurship . That year, the IACS held its meeting in October in Nassau , the Bahamas , and the AEJ held its meeting in the same hotel, the prior week. Both meetings were successful, and the JIACS was published for a second year. In addition, AE launched the Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal and the Entrepreneurial Executive.
We were now juggling three journals and trying to handle two separate organizations, in addition to holding down our teaching jobs. Fortunately, a great many old and new friends came to our rescue. Volunteers took over leadership positions in the two academies, and assumed editorships and became editorial board members in the three journals. Their volunteer service allowed the organizations to grow and prosper despite the lack of sponsorship. That gave the organizations a level of independence which was unprecedented, and the organizations determined to always fund their operations from conference registrations and memberships, and to eschew sponsorships or other sources of funding. That process continues to this day in the successor organizations.
By 1996, the paper work was becoming problematic and it was also obvious that the organizations would benefit from simultaneous conference meetings. Consequently, we established the Allied Academies as a not for profit corporation. The plan was for the individual academies to became affiliates of the Allied Academies, and for Allied to handle conference planning and execution, to arrange for publication and distribution of the various journals, and to establish and maintain a central website for communication among the members of the various organizations and the editorial boards of the various journals. It worked, and that is the process we continue to this day.
Also in 1996, it became clear that other areas of business research needed support from the kinds of organizations that we had established. An old friend, Phillip Little, Western Carolina University , launched the Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies and became the founding editor of its journal. We started the Academy of Managerial Communications (which has since changed its name) and launched a journal with it, later recruiting a new friend, Mary Ann Brandenburg, Indiana University of Pennsylvania , to take over leadership of that organization and journal.
The Allied Academies held a very successful joint meeting of its affiliates in October, 1996. This was the first year that Allied became the voice of its affiliates for purposes of conference planning and negotiation and we were successful in holding that conference in Maui, Hawaii . The meeting was so successful that it became clear that the demand was sufficient to move to two meetings each year.
We began to grow in earnest and in 1997 the Academy of Information and Management Sciences joined us together with its journal. The April meeting in 1997 was in Las Vegas . In 1998, the Academy for Studies in Business Law (which has since changed its name to the Academy for Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues) came aboard and launched its journal. Also, in 1998, the Academy of Entrepreneurship launched a new journal, the Journal of Entrepreneurship Education.
Another thing happened in 1998; we went paperless. The volume of manuscripts had reached a critical level and our older son, Trey Carland, agreed to help us make the shift into this brave new world. It went very well and allowed us to greatly expand our capacity.
In 1999, the Allied Academies added an Internet Conference in the summer to see if that could develop into a viable outlet for the increasing number of members of its affiliates. It was so successful, that it has become a mainstay and is held each summer in addition to the two physical conferences. We also added an internet division to each of the physical conferences. These cyber space opportunities support the participation of people who do not have the travel support to allow them to physically attend the meetings.
By 2000, additional people began to approach the Allied Academies with ideas about research areas which were not being addressed for faculty in the small and mid-sized universities. That year, Larry Dale, Arkansas State University , made a case for economics and economic education, and became the founding president of the Academy of Economics and Economic Education, and the founding editor of its journal. In the ensuing years, that became a pattern and additional people approached the Allied Academies for help in launching new organizations and journals. By affiliating together, these individual academies found strength in numbers and economies of scale in operation.
We discovered that the Allied Academies had outgrown us. We could no longer handle the needs of the affiliates and the associated journals while working full time. Further, we had seen first hand the kinds of problems that were associated with volunteer management, and we did not want that to happen with us. Volunteer leadership is a great asset and brings new and fresh ideas to an organization. However, volunteer management is a totally separate issue. When there is no one individual caretaker whose only job is to shepherd the day to day needs of an organization, that organization rapidly becomes mired in communication problems, and its members suffer. We decided that the only model which could produce the kind of effectiveness in operations which we demanded was professional management. To that end, we appointed Trey the Executive Director of Allied Academies. It made it his mission to provide a level of service to our affiliates and their members that is unsurpassed in the industry.
Under Treys leadership, the Allied Academies continues to grow and add new affiliates and the affiliates continue to launch new journals. Over the years, Allied pioneered new procedures, one of the most popular of which was adding the opportunity for members to choose presentation times for their manuscripts. Allied now provides a level of support to the Editors and Editorial Board Members which is unsurpassed. Trey handles all of the tracking and supports an Internet based editorial review process. This frees Editors from the tedium and allows them to focus on evaluating the quality of submissions. It also allows professors from small schools who have no administrative support to actually take on the role of a Editor.
From the beginning, our focus has been on organizations which support the faculties of small and mid-sized colleges and universities. This is our strength and our mission. We know that the major journals of the world which boast 5% acceptance rates are largely closed to professors from teaching schools. We also know that professors from teaching schools have a great deal to say, and they perform high quality research. What they need is an outlet and a voice. The journals published by our affiliates provide that outlet, and Allied provides that voice. Our professional management approach ensures that we handle it all professionally and expeditiously.
Our objective from the beginning has been to support journals because that is the most powerful support available to teaching faculty. As each affiliate launches a journal, we encourage them to establish an editorial policy of accepting 25% of the manuscripts. That gives them a large enough acceptance rate to be attractive to researchers, but a small enough rate to establish a reputation of quality. We require each affiliate to ensure that its journals are double blind refereed and meet all criterion for professional and faculty development. Allied supports the process of listing all of the journals of our affiliates in Cabells Directory. We pioneered the addition of the affiliates journals to all of the major indexing systems (i.e. ProQuest, EBSCO, and Gayle). One of our most valuable support activities is the submission of every article appearing in every journal to Google Scholar. To allow these articles to appear in Google Scholar, Google requires individual pdf files to be uploaded to a web site which is accessible by its search engines.
The Allied website is the central submission hub for all of our affiliates journals. Each manuscript submitted in this fashion enters a central tracking system, and the Executive Director becomes the primary source of communication among the authors, the editors, and the members of the editorial review board. This results in a more responsive communication and a smoother process and allows a professor in a teaching school, who would ordinarily not be able to take on the responsibilities, to become an Editor.
We ask our affiliates to emphasize to their editorial board members that their greatest service to their members is to play a supportive role, rather than a critical role. It is a difference of philosophy which is quite profound. We all know that most referees tell us what is wrong with a manuscript. The referees who have been recruited by our affiliates tell us what must be done to improve a manuscript. The result is a much more supportive environment and one which has a much greater potential to lead to the production of a published article.
Even with that philosophical change, the actual publication percentage in our affiliates journals remains somewhat less than 25%. Revisions are common, and multiple revisions do occur. That is because the traditional journal review process is slow and cumbersome. Because the members of the various editorial review boards are practicing teachers and researchers, getting feedback on a manuscript is time consuming. Even with the watchful oversight of a professional executive director, it is difficult to bring the time under three months. Add the likelihood of a revision or two, and even a short publication queue, and a successful article requires a minimum of a year to appear in print. This is a constant source of frustration for us and for everyone in the field.
We decided to tackle the issue directly. The lag time is driven by busy referees who are gracious enough to volunteer their time and their knowledge to help their peers. We really cant give them more time, but what we can do is compress their service. We discovered that there are a number of referees who are willing to volunteer their time in a short, compressed mode, rather than deal with a manuscript arriving for review every couple of months. That discovery allowed us to pioneer Accelerated Review: a process which can reduce the review time to one month.
Accelerated Review is growing rapidly in popularity and Allied has made it a priority to support this expansion. The author of a manuscript which has been accepted for presentation at a Conference can ask for that manuscript to undergo accelerated review. We recruit a team of volunteers from the various editorial review boards to serve for a period of one month in advance of each of our three conferences. We ask these people to look at a limited number of manuscripts and to facilitate their work, we ask them only to provide minimal feedback. This requirement allows a volunteer to look at 10 manuscripts in one week and provide feedback which supports an editorial decision on that manuscript. Editors must only look for manuscripts which have substantial agreement from the panel. Noting that the desired acceptance rate is 25%, finding that proportion of manuscripts which qualify can be done in an accelerated fashion and the authors of the manuscripts selected for publication can be notified at the conference.
Another pioneering effort has been encouraging the editorial boards to expand their horizons from the traditional mold. As we know, the traditional approach to publication has been to emphasize theoretical and empirical research, and to eschew applied or educational studies, case studies, teaching cases, or qualitative research. However, a great many valuable contributions can be overlooked with this perspective. The first journal that we established was the Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, an outlet for teaching cases. That journal has been highly successful and has provided an outlet for thousands of teaching professors over the years that might not have otherwise existed.
We continued this effort with another early journal, the Entrepreneurial Executive, which provided an outlet for applied research, case studies and qualitative research which had the potential to be of value to practicing entrepreneurs. We were extremely pleased when the Academy for Educational Leadership joined us in 1998, and launched a journal specializing in education. The AELJ also embraced applied research and case studies. That journal has been one of the most successful launched by any of our affiliates. As a result, when Larry Dale launched the JEEER in 2000, he also sought to include the full gamut of research efforts under that masthead. The founding editor of the Academy for Health Care Management Journal, Sarah Pitts, Christian Brothers University , also actively pursued applied research.
We are extremely pleased to announce that our most recent affiliate to date, the Academy for Business Studies, established in 2008, launched a journal which fully embraces qualitative research. The Business Studies Journal will provide the members of all of our affiliates with an a complete package of publication outlet opportunities. Our family of 14 affiliates, sponsoring 17 journals, supports us in extending publication opportunities to every faculty member in every school or college of business, regardless of discipline, training, or research preference.
From the beginning of the organization, we have had a strong international presence. This is especially true in entrepreneurship. Matti Koiranen, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland , established a European affiliate of the Academy of Entrepreneurship in 1996, and launched the International Journal of Entrepreneurship. That journal continues today, and its Editor is traditionally a member of the international community.
We found that many international scholars experienced difficulty in obtaining access to American journals, partly because they tend to be more qualitative in their research. As we mentioned above, we have been active over the years in encouraging affiliates to launch journals which had more open door policies. That makes our group of affiliates a natural outlet for international scholars. Allied has been successful in communicating that openness to the international field. Consequently, we have been attracting conference participants from all across the USA and the globe. In recent conferences our affiliates have featured authors from Australia, Canada, China, France, Finland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and many other countries in between.
One of the primary reasons for our foray into Internet conferences and Internet divisions was to allow more international people to communicate their work through our affiliates and their journals without incurring the tremendous travel expense normally associated with American conferences. However, there are a surprising number of people who are willing to fly great distances to present at our conferences.
The overwhelming majority of the members of our affiliates and the participants at our conferences are teaching faculty members from small colleges and universities. Hailing from such an institution ourselves, we learned how difficult it can be for people who do not enjoy release time and deep research assistance to penetrate traditional organizations and traditional journals. We are extremely pleased that so many people from small schools have found a home in one or another of the affiliates of the Allied Academies. The referees of the various journals sponsored by our affiliates are predominately from small schools, as well, and that ensures that they understand the challenges of research in such a setting. Those of us laboring in teaching schools recognize that a great deal of valuable work and important knowledge can enter the literature from researchers in small schools. Our affiliates understand that, as well.
We have had a number of people tell us stories about successful tenure, promotion and reappointment processes. Without fail, they note the importance of a publication in one or another of the family of journals sponsored by our affiliates. In recent years, we have been hearing stories from new professors recently completing their doctorates who have published papers from their dissertations in one or another of our affiliates journals. They found early on the shared difficulty that we all face in penetrating journals dominated by professors from research schools who have doctoral research assistance, release time, and almost unlimited research support. We fully expect both situations to continue and to grow because the organizations that we have embraced share with us the posture of recognizing the value of contributions from researchers in small schools.
Our new Internet conference focus will help us make greater inroads into the small school market. Many such programs have limited travel budgets. Our Internet conference will provide the same kind of access to conference presentations and to journal consideration as our physical conferences, while minimizing the costs.
Our mission is to facilitate the exchange of knowledge worldwide. To that end, we strive to attract as many viewpoints and research approaches from as many people throughout the world as possible. Thats why we have formed affiliations with organizations that cover the gamut of business disciplines and which sponsor journals which feature work from all research categories. Our organizations and their journals are interested in theoretical and empirical works, but they are equally interested in practical and applied works, case studies, teaching cases, educational studies, qualitative research, and pedagogic manuscripts. There are no closed doors in the Allied Academies to any viewpoint, methodology or approach. Everyone can find a home in one of our organizations and with one or another of the journals that they sponsor, regardless of discipline, training or research preference. We think that everyone has something to say and to contribute to the most vital resource of our planet: knowledge.
We are currently working on a plan to expand the readership of our journals so that we can increase their impact. To that end we have made all of our journals available on our web site, for members and subscribers. We have also been working diligently to make sure our journals are available through every possible outlet people use to conduct research. Our aim is to increase the visibility of our members works to a broader and broader audience.
We intend to expand the functionality of our Internet conferences. In addition to using our current technology, such as chat rooms, message boards, and email, we envision using modern audio and video technology to bring participants from all over the world together in one room. We get so much positive feedback from those who attend our conference sessions, that we would like to provide those who can not attend with the same feel that those who are there enjoy.
We are interested in additional growth to explicitly encompass more disciplines and research areas. We have learned that such growth can only occur when a strong champion arises who will carry the torch and ignite interest. As we find such champions, we intend to give them wide latitude in developing new outreach programs, new academies and new journals.
Finally, we need more people who will help us and our affiliate organizations to grow. We want to attract and recruit more members, champions, and ambassadors for our affiliates. We want to expand our international presence and seek formal affiliates in other nations. Finally, we want to hear from anyone who has an interest in any aspect of the Allied Academies or who has any ideas or suggestions to share.
We hope that this short history provides the answers to questions concerning some of our antecedents. We will try to keep the history updated as we progress and grow. In the meantime, keep in mind our interest in feedback or input from any and all sources. This organization is not based on two people, ten people, or a hundred people. It is based on the interests, minds and abilities of everyone involved. Please e-mail us any thoughts, ideas or suggestions and feel free to contact any of the affiliate presidents or journal editors to volunteer for referee work, or other involvement. Send us your desires in those areas and we will forward them to the appropriate people. Thank you for reading and for your interest.