Misconduct, Marginality and Editorial Practices in Management, Business and Economics Journals

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Abstract

© 2016 Karabag, Berggren. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Objectives The paper presents data on the two problems of misconduct and marginality in management, business and economics (MBE) journals and their practices to combat these problems. Design Data was collected in three phases. First, all publicly retracted papers in MBE journals were identified through keywords searches in 7 major databases (n = 1329 journals). Second, a focused survey was distributed to editors involved in such retractions (n = 64; response rate = 28%). Finally, a survey was administered to all active journals in the seven databases to collect data on editors' perceptions and practices related to the two problems (n = 937, response rate = 31.8%). Frequency analyses, cross tabulations, and qualitative analyses of open answers were used to examine the data. Results 184 retracted papers in MBE journals were identified in 2005-2015 (no retraction was found before 2005). From 2005-2007 to 2012-2015, the number of retractions increased by a factor ten with an all-time high in 2015. The survey to journals with reported retractions illustrates how already a few cases of suspected misconduct put a strain on the editorial workload. The survey to all active journals revealed that 42% of the respondents had started to use software to screen all submitted papers, and that a majority recognized the problem of marginality, as indicated by salami-style submissions. According to some editors, reviewers easily spot such submissions whereas others argued that authors may submit thinly sliced papers in parallel to several journals, which means that this practice is only discovered post-publication. The survey question on ways to support creative contributions stimulated a rich response of ideas regarding editorial vision, engaged boards and developmental approaches. The study uses data from three specialized fields, but its findings may be highly relevant to many journals in the social sciences.Copyright:

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Karabag, S. F., & Berggren, C. (2016). Misconduct, Marginality and Editorial Practices in Management, Business and Economics Journals. PLoS ONE, 11(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159492

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