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The challenge of publishing a paper: an autoethnographic study

Anselmo Ferreira Vasconcelos (Independent Researcher, São Paulo, Brazil)

Management Research

ISSN: 1536-5433

Article publication date: 16 December 2022

Issue publication date: 6 April 2023




The purpose of this study is to analyze the author’s experience related to several attempts of getting approved a paper of their authorship about gender and organizations by the lens of a researcher trying to meet his goal.


Throughout the endeavor, the author received substantial feedback and evaluations from editors and reviewers that allowed him to understand better the motivation of those that are dedicated to carry out such task; enhance his work whenever was possible; increase his resilience and self-motivation; and identify several inconsistencies of the peer-review process. Furthermore, that ample opinionated material allowed him to conduct the current autoethnographic study.


Accordingly, the author’s findings identified three aggregate dimensions, namely, demotivating assessments, mixed perceptions and motivating assessments. Moreover, the author did not identify any trace of developmental review (help), bill of rights or notion of being an “artist,” as some scholars suggest, from both the reviewers’ or editors’ part, but only from a specific journal’s editor and one of its reviewers. On the one hand, the majority of the reviewers/editors showed a harsh view about the author’s work or even a lack of interest to ponder his arguments and difficulties to carry out that study. Even though the author alluded to the limitations and unsurmountable hurdles that he faced along the way, they showed neither sympathy nor comprehension to his comments. On the other hand, it was not an easy task to the author to sift the hints provided by them.

Research limitations/implications

Nonetheless, the author also recognizes his own limitations that eventually affected his analysis and point of views. It is also worth noting that this method relies on a unique source (the author).

Practical implications

The author believes that his ideas and opinions have some base and merit. Rather, his findings embrace profound implications for reviewers and editors, particularly in terms of how they perform their work.


To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first endeavor focusing on peer-review system related to organizational studies and grounded in an autoethnography approach. Therefore, their contribution is derived from a researcher that is familiar with the system and its flaws.



The author is very grateful to the Professor Dr Sania Zaheer Ali for her support on an earlier version of this paper. In addition, the author also thanks Professor Dr José Ernesto Amorós and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive recommendations and comments.


Vasconcelos, A.F. (2023), "The challenge of publishing a paper: an autoethnographic study", Management Research, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 76-104.



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