Matlay, H. (2006), "Editorial", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 13 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/jsbed.2006.27113aaa.001Download as .RIS
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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
It has become something of an editorial ritual that, at the beginning of each new volume of JSBED, we take a retrospective look at the successes and achievements of previous years. After completing four years as one of the fastest growing refereed journals, we can look forward with excitement and anticipation towards a fifth year of new challenges, consolidation and experimentation. During the last four years, our growth and improvement has been tremendous, both relative to the JSBED position in 2001 and absolute, as compared to other refereed journals operating in the small business and entrepreneurship field of research. Due credit must be given to all those involved in making this journal better, bigger and more significant in terms of empirical relevance and impact. We owe much to the support and professionalism of the Emerald Group representatives who have provided the necessary fertile ground and nourishment for our development and growth.
While acknowledging our success, I feel that the next few years will be more difficult and challenging, not just for us but also for other scholarly journals operating in this fast growing and highly competitive market. Both academia and publishing are changing fast and not always in the right direction. The accelerating pace and the complexity of academic, research and economic change leaves little space for reflection, adjustment and retrenching. All of us seem to be busier than ever, having to work harder and longer hours and spend more time hunched up in front of computers. It concerns me that despite working longer hours and sacrificing more weekends and holidays, I find myself doing less research and dissemination. Invariable, each passing year I spent less time in the field and wrote fewer articles and book chapters. Similarly, I struggled to find “quality time” to devote to my students, colleagues and associates. In contrast, there seems to be no end of mundane jobs and tangential chores for which an editor must devote time and resources. One could, therefore, ask a pertinent question: why do we get involved in the largely thankless job of journal editing?
Prima facie, there are some obvious answers to this question: perhaps we become editors because of the belief that it is our duty to engage in a process that ultimately leads to the creation and dissemination of new and relevant knowledge; maybe we set out to facilitate and safeguard the publication of better quality articles; or it could be that our career progression demands this step to be attempted and fulfilled. Interestingly, in the last few years, I have spoken to a number of editors engaged in various fields of academic endeavour and found them generally content with their lot. Unfortunately, however, none were really happy with their editorial achievements. Similarly, I am pleased with how this journal has progressed to date, but have no illusions about just how much more there is still to be achieved. We seem to live and work in a world full of contradictions, uncertainties and insecurities. There is increasing tension between various aspects of our existence as well as growing pressures and stresses in both our personal and professional lives. With the wisdom of retrospective and accumulated experiences, I no longer believe that these mounting tensions can be successfully resolved or even mitigated. Perhaps the best we can hope for is to manage them, and use their impact positively in order to achieve better outcomes.
In this context, it occurs to me that the main requisite for positive management of tensions and pressures must include mutual respect and consideration as well as an understanding of the multiple perspectives and interests that can impact upon a given situation. In the case of JSBED, tangible issues and hidden agendas can sometime contrive to hinder progress in a highly competitive market. I have often been advised by well-wishing colleagues and associates to “mellow” or “chill out” and enjoy our obvious success. In their view, “going with the flow” would be more beneficial for my reputation and career, rather than “kicking at boundaries” or “aiming for the stars”. I respect and understand their perspectives and hope that in turn they would consider my own views on this matter. First, I have not become a journal editor in order to further my career or enhance my reputation. If I were a career minded academic, investing more time in research, dissemination and consultancy would have been much more beneficial and financially lucrative. Second, if we were to go with the flow, it would take decades to develop our own style or contribute significantly to the small business and entrepreneurship topic. Furthermore, even after serving time we would still be languishing at or near the bottom of the league – still trailing behind those that were here before us, but maybe in front of any newcomers. Personally, I have neither the time nor the inclination to wait for decades to catch a glimpse of the promised land. Most colleagues enjoy the challenges as well as the competition inherent in editorial work, and would want to continue to aim for better dissemination and higher ratings.
The first issue in the 13th volume of JSBED incorporates ten articles that, individually and cumulatively, are indicative of the wide variety of themes and perspectives that coexist within the rapidly expanding topic of small business and enterprise development. As usual, I would like to thank all those involved in compiling this issue – including authors, referees, advisors and consultants – for all their hard work and generous support. I would also like to thank the staff of the Emerald Group for their commitment and support in making it all happen, issue by issue, and volume by volume.