Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Meditari Accountancy Research, Volume 19, Issue 1/2
Journals play a fundamental role in the development of all disciplines and professions. They create a record of how well professions meet one of the requirements of professions: possession of a body of knowledge. Journals serve to preserve and document the past, disseminate information from contemporary scholars, and aid the development of the profession’s knowledge base by identifying appropriate contributions and preserving them in an archival source (Lindsey and Kirk, 1992, Social Service Review, Vol. 66 No. 2).
Welcome to the first edition of Meditari Accountancy Research (MedAR) to be published by Emerald Publishing.
MedAR was first published in 1993 and this is its 19th issue. The journal originated at the Department of Accounting at the University of Pretoria. Its purpose is to provide an outlet for scholars mainly in accounting and finance. For many years, South Africa was isolated from the international arena, with the result that, although the journal was launched near the end of the apartheid era, the journal often reflected an inward-looking tendency that is a legacy of South African history.
The accounting and finance community is a global one, and today many issues worth investigating have global implications. The editorial team of MedAR realized that a change in perspective was needed. If work published in the journal is to meet the objectives of journals that Lindsey and Kirk (1992) describe in the epigraph above, it is important for us to expand our horizons to gain international relevance and recognition.
We therefore embarked on a number of changes, such as increasing the number of international reviewers on our panel, and actively encouraging authors from outside South Africa to publish in the journal. We also increased our international profile, and today we are proud to be included in the ranking list of the Australian Business Deans’ Council. Our new agreement with prominent publishing group Emerald Publishing means that Emerald will publish and promote the journal in future – one of the final steps in truly integrating MedAR into the international academic accounting and finance community.
The Latin word meditari means to think, contemplate and exercise the mind. Hence, MedAR aims to publish papers that enhance our understanding of accounting, finance, and related issues. We aim to continue to publish quality research articles that rigorously examine questions of interest to the greater accounting community.
At MedAR, we recognize that the world is complex and that this complexity requires the application of different research methods to address the diversity of issues in accounting and finance from various angles. Specific research methods tend to be better suited to answering a particular type of question, with the result that privileging a particular method eventually leads to the asking of particular questions and to doing research in the way that best suits that method. In the long term, we at MedAR want to avoid falling into that trap. This issue is discussed in detail in the first paper in this edition, “Developing the relevance of the accounting academy: the importance of drawing from the diversity of research approaches”, by Jane Broadbent and Jeffrey Unerman. Hence, the primary criterion for publication in MedAR is the significance of the contribution that the article makes to the literature, regardless of the research method(s) used.
The range of issues to be addressed in accounting and finance is broad; hence the variety of acceptable articles is also vast, and papers may deal with any current aspect of accounting. This includes, but is not limited to, papers on the following topics:
the impact of accounting on organizations;
the impact of accounting on capital markets;
the impact of accounting on individuals;
regulation of the profession;
risk management; and
The broad scope and the vast array of research methods available are reflected in this inaugural Emerald Group Publishing Limited edition of MedAR. Using quantitative archival methods, Ferreira and De Villiers explored the association between South African firms’ Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) scores and share returns. Marx and Van Dyk used content analysis in their article to obtain evidence on whether firms obtain independent assurance reports for their sustainability reports. van Zyl and de Villiers focus on the shortage of chartered accountants in South Africa. Using questionnaires, they gathered evidence on the factors that affect accounting students’ career choices. Viviers and Cohen used semi-structured interviews to gather evidence on the capital budgeting practices of firms in the South African motor industry. Finally, Watson investigated diamond mining firms’ disclosure responses surrounding the blood diamonds controversy, using content analysis, together with quantitative techniques.
Thus, this issue of MedAR investigates several important accounting issues, using a broad spectrum of methods, ranging from highly quantitative approaches (in the archival analysis papers) to qualitative approaches (for example, in some of the questionnaire-based papers). The issues addressed by these papers are also relevant, both from a local (South African) perspective and from an international perspective, for example, the paper on blood diamonds. Even the examination of BEE, a South African policy, can be said to be relevant to the treatment of formerly disadvantaged groups of people by firms elsewhere in the world, as well as to firms’ social accountability in various other countries.
This first Emerald Publishing edition of MedAR still contains mainly articles by South African authors. We continue to value the contributions that South African authors have made to the journal over many years, and will hopefully continue to make, but we want to stress that we are open to submissions from across the globe.
I trust you will enjoy the first edition of MedAR under the Emerald banner and continue to assist us in going from strength to strength as we establish ourselves as a global role player in accounting and finance research.