What we expect from papers submitted to IJI
The quality of articles submitted to Brazilian journals has been a source of criticism (Ferreira & Falaster, 2016), not only in the International Journal of Innovation - IJI but also in other journals. Journals also usually receive work outside their scope. It motivated us to write this editorial comment. We aim to help the authors better understand the scope of the IJI and understand what we expect from the submitted works. Our concern is related to the format and the elements necessary for each type of work. In addition to the authors, the reviewers can also consult this editorial comment to guide their evaluations.
The predominant field of IJI is innovation with a focus on emerging markets. Within innovation, the themes of interest to the journal are: Innovative Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Learning, Innovation and Sustainability, Internationalization of Innovation, Innovation Systems, Emerging Themes of Innovation and Digital Transformation. As scope, the IJI brings:
- Scientific research, theoretical essays, and reviews that advance the understanding and variety of innovation, improve its efficiency and critical approaches. We prioritize the development of new challenging theories, clarify existing theories, and identify new theoretical issues. Example: Systematic reviews, Bibliometrics, Theoretical essays, Reviews, among others.
- Empirical investigations or applied tests that, based on theories or references formulated, show state of the art and practical application in innovation; priority is given to unpublished technological contributions and their importance for studies in the area. Example: Empirical articles (quantitative and qualitative), Technological articles, Articles with guidelines for practice, among others.
- Perspectives that show the advance of established and emerging methodologies that are used in the area of innovation such as: Experimental, Technometrics, Text Mining, Data Mining, Modeling, Bibliometrics, Netnography, Neuroscientific Methods, Design Science Research, Grounded Theory and others.
We will continue discussing what we expect from the papers submitted to IJI. We will contextualize some of the types of papers we accept: Articles, Technological articles, Perspectives, Reviews, and Editorial Comments. When submitting the work at IJI, the author must choose one of these options mentioned. We remind the authors that all types of papers must contain a structured summary in Portuguese, English, and Spanish. This structured summary can be adapted for reviews and perspectives, using only the elements that fit the study.
Last year, we started the editorial comment section at IJI. This section is exclusively authored by the editors of IJI and their guests. Eventually, we invite members of the editorial board or scholars to contribute with their knowledge. Editorial comments do not go through peer review. Therefore, they are not considered articles.
With the editorial comments from IJI, our goal is to assist authors and readers in understanding the various aspects related to scientific research, the publication of articles, and themes related to innovation. We want to help the researchers in their scholarly productions, orienting their articles in the best possible way. We intend to guide the IJI community through our editorial comments, minimizing the desks rejects of the articles, and maximizing authors' publications in the area of innovation.
At the time of submission, authors who choose this type of work option may include empirical articles (qualitative and quantitative), theoretical and review articles (systematic literature reviews, bibliometric, theoretical essays)—always taking care of the scope of the IJI with a focus on innovation in emerging countries.
In addition to the formatting guidelines that are found in the IJI, we suggest that the articles follow the following structure: Introduction; Literature review; Conceptual Development (Propositions or Hypotheses, when applicable); Methods; Results; Discussions and Conclusions. This structure, which will be suggested below, may undergo some changes depending on the article type. For example, a review article may not have a literature review section, as its results play this role. We suggest that an article has approximately 8000 (eight thousand) words.
Introduction: When developing the introduction note the following aspects with greater specificity: if it is clear what the theoretical focus is used, present the research question that motivates the article, indicates the method, present the main results and the contributions or implications. Some failure possibilities deserve special attention from the authors: (1) the article indicates the research question, and (2) the article includes an explanation of the desired contribution.
Literature review: Aspects to be considered by the authors: (1) the author is not limited to exposing a set of previous works on a theme with little connection to the current article; (2) links previous works to this article - the authors must clarify how previous referenced works relate to this article; and (3) it has a good balance in the inclusion of classic, or seminal, pertinent references, and more recent references.
Conceptual development (propositions or hypotheses, when applicable): An article may or may not have propositions or hypotheses, but it must always have specific conceptual support that motivates the study. Authors should pay attention to the text of the propositions or hypotheses, the consistency between the various hypotheses, and whether they are adjusted to the research question. Authors should give special attention to the argument that supports each of the propositions or hypotheses. Check that it is consistent.
Method: The method section needs to be elaborated on several aspects, especially on the data collection procedures and instruments, sample, variables, and data analysis procedures. Check if the data are appropriate to the objectives and if they are not biased. The article should include an adequate explanation of the data and sources used, given that primary data or lesser-known sources require further explanation. Likewise, it is important to understand the characteristics of the data and their representativeness, for which the sample description must be complete. An adequate description if an instrument is used is crucial, and it is not enough to send the questionnaire as an attachment to the article. The questionnaire items, the measurement method, and the source of the items are important. Finally, it is necessary to check the data analysis procedures. In empirical studies, the article must indicate which statistical technique is most effective for testing hypotheses.
Results: The authors must include some descriptive elements. The descriptive component is relevant to observe the distribution of the data. A quantitative article should include the correlation table, for example. The article must contain tables with the statistical results, and in the text, the authors need to indicate sequentially if each hypothesis is verified. The text must contain an interpretation of at least the most important results.
Discussion: It is a whole section for articles submitted to IJI. The authors must briefly mention the purpose of the article and how it was pursued throughout it. Here the authors must integrate the theory used in the theoretical framework, the hypotheses or propositions, and the results. It is time to show the contributions and/or implications of the study given the existing knowledge. Authors must present an analysis of the main results about the exposed theory. The discussion must be sustained in the analyzes so as not to run the risk of being speculative.
Final considerations: the authors must pay special attention to some aspects. The conclusion does not need be too long. One can start by remembering the purpose of the article and how it was achieved. Authors should bring the limitations of the study and suggestions for future research. The ideal is a paragraph for each limitation and any future research. All of these elements must flow coherently and without ramblings for similar subjects or with references to other studies in progress.
We will now conceptualize the technological article and show its difference from an academic article. The technological article is a production with a professional emphasis, with an approach mainly focused in problem-solving (Motta, 2017). It is the fundamental difference between a technological article and a production with an academic emphasis. The technological article generally describes experiences in organizations. Even so, authors must follow scientific and methodological rigor in their writing (Biancolino et al., 2012).
We propose that the authors submit in this technological article section applied research that prioritizes the learning description, presenting the practical results experienced in the organizations. The CIMO logic (Van Aken, 2007) brings us some insights for a technical production:
- Context (problem situation);
- Intervention (intervention proposed to solve the problem presented);
- Mechanisms adopted (description of how the problem was solved);
- Results Obtained (objectively describe the results obtained in the organization).
It is worth mentioning that in a technological article, reports of solutions implemented with results already obtained are expected. It does not make sense to report something that has not yet been implemented in the organization. So, it is expected that the technological article submitted to IJI will offer contributions to knowledge, as an example (Gregor and Hevner, 2013):
- Focus on innovation: new solutions to new problems;
- Focus on improvement: new solutions to known problems;
- Focus on extrapolation: known solutions to new problems.
Another point that we would like to clarify is the size of a technological article. Even if some journals accept technological articles with fewer pages, we suggest that the submission to IJI has at least 6000 (six thousand) words. Also, authors should follow the format available in the guidelines for the author, including the structured abstract and adopting the structure presented below.
Introduction: its purpose is to present what the technological article is about briefly, and the intervention carried out, making it clear which problem situation will be solved. Quickly inform how the research was carried out and how the data collected to interpret the technological article were interpreted.
Literature review: must be related to the intervention carried out in the organization. The theoretical framework will give theoretical support to the findings of the technological article and contribute to the discussion of the results obtained.
Technical production method: despite being a technical production, the technological article must follow a method, which must be well detailed. It should contain a description of the procedures used to collect the data and information relevant to the technological article's realization. It needs to indicate whether it was a direct observation or direct participation, among other examples.
Context and problem situation: the authors must present the problem or the opportunity and characterize the organization.
Types of intervention and mechanisms adopted: the authors must analyze the problem situation and discuss the possible alternatives for its resolution: innovation, improvement or extrapolation, and describing the activities developed to solve the problem situation.
Results obtained and analysis: the authors must bring the most relevant contributions according to the subjects dealt with in the technological article. Its relevance for similar cases with lessons from the reported experience should be emphasized. Describe the results obtained and analyze the data.
Discussions and final considerations: the discussion is also welcome in the technological article. It is time to compare the analysis of the results with the researched theory. Show that the objectives of the technological article have been achieved. The authors can comment on the limitations for the research to be carried out and propose new ideas for studies of a technical nature that can continue what was presented.
References: the authors must insert at the end all authors used in the theoretical framework, according to APA standards found in the IJI guidelines.
Review is the analysis of a work in an evaluative and critical way, exposing the summary of its main points. Authors who choose this option at the time of submission should exercise caution. They must remember that the review is an academic work to encourage authors and readers to understand and criticize the reviewed work.
With this review section, the IJI proposes to provide, for its readers and the wider community of academics, interesting reviews that deal with topics relevant to research or the practice of innovation. The reviews can be, for example, of recently published books and seminal or classic books, which are important for the academic community and complement the training of graduate students.
The suggested steps in the review, presented below, should make sense for the author and the reader. All of these elements must appear coherently and fluidly in the text of the review. We suggest that a review has at least 6000 (six thousand) words, depending on the work reviewed.
Bibliographic reference: presents a brief description of the work's registration data, such as author's name, title/subtitle, edition (place of publication, publisher, edition, etc.), number of pages.
References of the author of the work: this phase is dedicated to the author's data, such as date and place of birth and death (if applicable), his main works, and the works' main themes.
What are the issues that mobilized the work being examined: explain why, according to the author, the work is important for studies in this field. This information is generally placed in the introduction and can be important to understand the meaning of the work.
Context of the work: indicates the period and place in which the work was carried out, especially in the case of publications and works considered seminal.
Methodology of the work (if it is the case especially works of a theoretical-practical nature): point out the main methodological axes described by the author.
Summary of the work's main conclusions: this phase is dedicated to the conclusions/contributions of the work, according to the author.
Most important bibliographic references of the reviewed work: identify the main references most cited in the work.
- Main contributions of the work, according to the reviewer;
- For which target audience can this work be recommended?
- What is your opinion about the work? Strengths and weaknesses, specific limitations.
- The reviewer can complement the review with results from other research on the topic in question. For example, present the results of a systematic review or a bibliometric for possible additions to the theme or comparisons.
In the perspective section, we want to reach specialist readers who are not necessarily academic to disseminate ideas and concepts that can contribute to practice and reflection on their day-to-day activities in the scope of innovation. These articles seek to focus on evidence, much more than on the development of theory. However, they can demonstrate the advancement of established and emerging methodologies that are used in the area of innovation, such as Experimental, Technometrics, Text Mining, Data Mining, Modeling, Bibliometrics, Netnography, Neuroscientific Methods, Design Science Research, Grounded Theory, and others, as we mentioned earlier. Thus, this section proposes to receive articles reviewing concepts, articles that integrate theories and results, new ideas about the field, and integration of fields of study.
Our intention with the perspectives section is to raise debates and increase the IJI community's discussion to attract the public to thoughts and reflections on the theme of innovation. In addition to having another channel to disseminate academic research progress, so distant from executives and undergraduate students, or even academics from other areas of knowledge. We suggest that a prospect has at least 6000 (six thousand) words.
Main reasons for work failures at IJI
We will share with the IJI community the main reasons for rejection of the submitted works. The aim is to bring our experience as editors in the conduct of editorial processes. This way, we minimize rejections in the desk reviews and the works that peers are already evaluating. The desk review is a moment before peer review; it takes place before the editors send the submitted article to the reviewers. The IJI desk review takes place in two stages, which will be described below.
In the first stage, as soon as the work is submitted to IJI, it undergoes a technical desk review to verify that the work is minimally in the journal's rules. It is at this point that many authors need to resubmit their work. The main reasons are:
- Authors forget to exclude the indication of their names in the file sent;
- The work goes through plagiarism identification software, and we often find similarities outside of good academic practices;
- The authors do not place the work within the rules presented in the submission guidelines. For example, the IJI only accepts papers within the APA standards, or with a certain maximum number of pages. Moreover, the authors do not adapt their article in our format.
After the technical verification, we, the editors, carried out the second stage of the desk review. In this step, we assess the work scope as adherent to IJI, as presented at the beginning of this editorial comment. We also check if the work is adequate according to the suggestions we present in the articles we receive for submissions. The main reasons for rejections at this stage of the desk review are:
- The works are not within the scope established in the IJI;
- The works do not meet the suggested structure suggestions for each type of study. As an example: they do not have a discussion section; or do not have a literature review section in the empirical articles; they do not have a minimum number of words, making it a superficial job; they have serious method errors.
After the works go through these two stages of desk review, we proceed with the editorial process, and the works are sent to the reviewers. Right now, there are several reasons for rejection. But most of the time, the works are rejected because the authors do not heed the suggestions of the reviewers. An important item that facilitates this process of rounds between the authors and the reviewers is the letter of reply from the authors regarding changes in the work. Our guideline is that when the authors send the revised paper, send a letter and all the changes suggested by the reviewers made in this new version.
We take the opportunity to thank the authors for their confidence in submitting their work to the IJI. We also thank the efforts of all the reviewers, who were involved with the IJI, for their extraordinary work and to offer authors valuable suggestions for improvement. We hope that readers will appreciate our editorial comment and that the guidelines will be useful to further improve their submissions to IJI. And that they serve as an incentive to send your research papers on innovation to our journal.
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Ferreira, M., & Falaster, C. (2016). Uma Análise Comparativa dos Fatores de Rejeição nos Periódicos de Diferentes Estratos de Administração. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 20(4), 412-433.
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