Monday, May 26, 2014

Revising, Reviewing, and Rewarding - The Three R's of Scholarship

I am sitting in my office at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, where I am spending several weeks as a Visiting Professor of Operations Management.

The weather has been glorious since I arrived 10 days ago and I am enjoying the view and the lovely air blowing through my open window.

Academics never lose a beat and although they may trounce around from conference to conference, from one speaking venue to another, they always need to stay focused on the research at hand.

As children, we had emphasized to us, in the educational system, the 3R's: Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic, which are still fundamental to those of us who work, publish, and teach Operations Research, Management Science, and Operations Management, and, of course, in many other disciplines!

But, as scholars, we also devote a lot of time to such pursuits (which the public may not be as aware of) as revising and refereeing. The latter does not have to do with sports, but, rather, with reviewing articles that are submitted for publication. In our field, this is done pro bono, as a service activity. And the more productive one is, the more requests one gets to review papers that are submitted to journals. The same holds if one has multiple Associate Editor appointments, as I have.

This weekend, I spent a lot of hours reviewing a paper submitted to a transportation journal. It takes time to thoroughly read a paper, check for correctness (or not), make constructive comments and suggestions, and reach a decision (which will be collated by the editor with the other reports) as to whether the paper merits a revision (major or minor), should be accepted as is (I've actually had a few of the papers that I have authored get this mark of distinction), or should be outrightly rejected. And if a paper is rejected you may still wish to revise and resubmit it to another journal.

Solid refereeing is essential to the  scientific quality of papers that are published and in moving disciplines forward.

I have also been working on revising a paper with 3 co-authors who are now (yes, certain faculty members  travel alot) in different countries. Sometimes, this is an advantage, because a co-author can always be working. We have prepared the revision and response to the 3 reviewers, and are now carefully proofing the paper.

One should always reward oneself for hard work and, here, in Sweden, it is easy to do.  Below are some treats (a few, I admit, I have sampled) that are so beautiful I had to post the photos.

Of course, such rewards come also with a lot of walking and Gothenburg is such a walkable city with many pedestrian walkways shaded by lovely tree canopies at this time of year.

So love the work that you do - revise and resubmit those papers that you have dilligently labored over, enjoy the reviewing process, and don't forget to reward yourselves and your co-authors!

As the wonderful Administrative Assistant here, Wivvian, said to me the other day - Anna, you are working hard but you clearly love what you do - indeed!

And, in addition to gustatory treats, this afternoon I will be at an Urban Freight workshop, an intellectual treat, hosted by Chalmers University and the University of Gothenburg, which, conveniently for me, will take place at the business school here.