Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Volume 21, Issue 2
From time to time in these Editorials for Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management (JMTM), I like to look back at how the journal has developed and the changes that have occurred over the years. Now is an excellent opportunity to do this again, because it is 20 years ago that the journal was acquired by the publisher Emerald. The first thing to note is that in this time both the journal and publisher have changed their names. In 1990, JMTM was called Integrated Manufacturing Systems and Emerald was called MCB University Press. And even before 1990, the journal had another incarnation, being launched in 1982 as FMS Magazine by another publisher.
These changes in journal title alone reflect some of the developments that have taken place over the period. Publishers do not change journal titles readily unless there is a good reason, but the first change was necessary because a focus on flexible manufacturing systems proved to be too restrictive once the popularity of this type of technology started to diminish. The second change was because increasingly fewer papers were relevant to the specific subjects of “integration” and “systems”. The current, more generic, title has proved much more robust and even enabled the scope of the journal to be widened, as I reported in the Editorial to JMTM Volume 20, Number 4.
Another obvious change in the profile of JMTM has been to the geographical location of authors. When I became Editor in 1991 around half the papers were by European authors (and “Europe” was much smaller then!) followed by North America and the Far East, while some parts of the world such as South America and India were hardly represented at all. Just looking at the first two issues of this year (Volume 21) there is a much more diverse spread, with authors from 12 different countries (Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, India, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Oman, Sweden, Thailand, the UK and the USA).
There are a number of possible reasons for this change in the geographical location of authors, but I hesitate to speculate which is the most important one. It is tempting to suggest that the changing geographical spread of authors represents the international shift in where manufacturing is undertaken, and this is indeed something I have suggested in the past. However, arguably it can represent a shift of universities and research institutes away from the more traditional industrialised countries of the West (the USA and Europe) and East Asia (principally Japan and Australia). There is some evidence to demonstrate this because the Times Higher Education Supplement has undertaken an annual ranking of world universities since 2004. In that year among the top 200 universities there were only 15 from the newly industrialising countries. However, in the 2009 this had increased to 24.
Assuming JMTM is still around in another 20 years, or even journals as we now know them, it will certainly be interesting to see where the authors are from.