Steve Baron (University of Liverpool Management School, Liverpool, UK)
Rebekah Russell-Bennett (Department of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, QUT Business School, Queensland University of Technology, Australia. AND The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK.)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 9 February 2015



Baron, S. and Russell-Bennett, R. (2015), "Editorial", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 29 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-11-2014-0374



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Services Marketing, Volume 29, Issue 1

As many of you may know, as from August 2014, we took over as the new Co-Editors of the journal from Charles Martin.

At the time of writing this editorial, we are two months into our tenure, and our experience so far has made us even more aware of the excellent work that Charles Martin has carried out on behalf of the service(s) research community, single-handedly, for over 23 years! A huge thanks from all of us go to Charles. We both have personal memories of the support given by Charles to us in our early research years, which resulted in our affection for the Journal of Services Marketing. I would imagine that the careers of literally hundreds of service(s) marketing scholars have benefitted from his unfailingly sound and helpful advice in the past. We are still receiving his selfless support during the handover period. We truly wish him every success with the projects he is now engaging with.

We have taken over the editorship of a journal that is in a healthy state. Many scholars wish to publish their work in our journal. In the first nine months of 2014, we have received almost 350 submissions. It is likely that there will be in the region of 400 submissions by the year end. Even before any influence from us as Editors, we know that there have been enough papers already accepted to take us through to the fourth issue of 2015. The impact factor for the journal has recently risen from its first rating of 0.659 to its current rating of 0.783. This is cause for optimism but not complacency. We are aware the high impact factors in all the service(s) journals will benefit the community of service(s) researchers, and we are striving to maintain this upward trajectory of an increasing impact factor.

Forging new ground

We are both committed to building on the strengths of the journal while forging new ground. As a result, there are three immediate changes to the reviewing process. The first is the formation of a team of Associate Editors. We are very pleased that 17 eminent scholars, from across the world, have agreed to be Associate Editors for the journal. They will play an important and substantial role in choosing reviewers for manuscripts and making recommendations for publication. We have also added a number of services marketing scholars to the Editorial Advisory Board.

The second change is the review process. With very few exceptions, manuscripts will be reviewed by three academics and resubmissions will be returned to reviewers for comment.

A third change is proofs. As part of Emerald’s commitment to quality, a proof stage is being introduced progressively in all journals whereby authors will be required to check and confirm a manuscript proof. This is an important part of ensuring the Journal’s quality output.

Our vision for the Journal of Services Marketing is to make substantial impact on both the scholarship and practice of services in the twenty-first century though engagement with our community, and through best practice. The tools of this century involve collaboration, crowd-sourcing and co-creation, and these tools need to be incorporated into the journal’s processes starting with reputation, quality research, interesting and contemporary topics, research assistance and expert knowledge.

Our leadership style is both personal and engaged; we have extensive networks based on face-to-face interactions, collaborations and friendships around the globe. Our knowledge and use of social media is current, and both of us leverage Web 2.0 technology to promote the people and organizations with whom we work. The use of technology to foster quality submissions and citations is the cornerstone of our editorial strategy.

Fresh thinking in services marketing

To announce our tenancy, we issued a Call-for-Papers for a special issue of the journal on “Fresh Thinking in Services Marketing: Contemporary, Cutting-edge and Creative Thoughts”. We aim to publish this issue in late 2015, and fully expect it to provide great ideas and foundations for future research in service(s) marketing.

Editorial criteria

For potential authors of submissions to regular issues, you can work out that publication in the journal is highly competitive. Normally 50 papers are published each year from the 400 or so that are submitted (acceptance rate in the region of 12.5 per cent). Papers will be judged on rigor, originality and significance, especially regarding their unique contribution to knowledge and understanding. It is always worth considering what will make your paper stand out from the rest, with regard to the three criteria. For example, we are currently receiving a very high proportion of submitted papers which adopt methodologies based on structural equation modeling, often in fields of study which already contain many published papers. While such papers, perhaps following responses to reviewer comments, may satisfy the rigor criterion, they may falter on originality and significance. Whatever the methodology used, it is certainly worth giving due attention to the originality and significance of the findings. Likewise, a replication study of an existing theory in a new context is not in and of itself a contribution, particularly where the results among the theoretical constructs are the same as those of previous studies. For example, a manuscript that examines the relationship between service quality and loyalty in a new context (such as a country or industry), and finds there is a significant relationship, contributes very little over and above current knowledge on service quality and loyalty.

Most of the papers we receive are empirical papers. We would like to receive more conceptual or review papers that satisfy the three criteria.

Specifically we seek papers that:

  • contain unique and interesting research on services marketing in a contemporary global world;

  • are from a diverse range of methodological, philosophical and theoretical approaches;

  • are situated within either a pure or applied research tradition;

  • have a well-grounded theoretical conceptualization;

  • adopt a rigorous and appropriate research methodology; and

  • are well written and of clear relevance and interest to services marketing scholarship and practice.

We are both intending to attend as many service(s)-related conferences as we can each year, and we know this will be the case with our Associate Editors. We look forward to meeting as many members of the service(s) research community as possible. If you are an organizer of any conferences or events, please contact us to identify if any of the editorial team would be available to speak about the journal or publishing processes.

Finally, we are planning to publish editorials every second issue on topics that are of relevance to services marketing researchers. The first two will be on ethics in services, and best practice with writing “Managerial Implications”. We are interested in other topics you may suggest which will interest the readership.

Steve Baron and Rebekah Russell-Bennett

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