Seeking Serendipitous Scholarly Discoveries: SAGE Recommends

18501292075_59e5db288d_zResearch is a fickle process–at times, carefully planned searches and methodical approaches yield a bounty of relevant information, and other times, it seems there is no information to be found. Many times, when research plateaus, the best thing to revive research is a serendipitous discovery. But how exactly can serendipity be applied to research when it is inherently coincidental? A new two-part white paper from SAGE Publishing discusses the part serendipity plays in academic research, and how to encourage more coincidental discoveries.

In the first paper, “Expecting the Unexpected: Serendipity, Discovery, and Scholarly Research Process,” written by Alan Maloney and Lettie Y. Conrad, findings from a survey of 239 students and faculty suggest that researches prefer to stumble upon interesting, relevant content rather than have materials recommended by peers or by popularity. Statistically, 78% of undergraduates and 91% of faculty are inclined to click on recommendations during their online research, particularly when the recommendations are directly relevant to their research topic.

Lemony Snicket quote

In the second paper, “The Story of SAGE Recommends,” Alan Maloney describes how the research on serendipitous academic research led to the development of SAGE Recommends, a new discovery tool launched in December 2015. SAGE Recommends is designed to explain connections between content and subtly recommend relevant research materials to users. Alan Maloney explained:

SAGE Recommends is the first output of SAGE’s efforts over the last couple of years to develop better content intelligence, and to properly map and understand the disciplines in which we publish. This paper sets out how we have used this new knowledge and area of technical competence to make scholarly and educational materials more discoverable, to encourage new directions in research, and to delight our users.

The findings of this study will be discussed in a free webinar, which will take place on Tuesday, February 16th at 11 AM EST. The discussion will be moderated by InfoDOCKET’s Gary Price. To register, click here.

To read the first paper, “Expecting the Unexpected: Serendipity, Discovery, and Scholarly Research Process,” click here. To read the second paper, “The Story of SAGE Recommends,” click here.

Reflections on Academic Research and Writing: The Ecstasy and the Agony (Part 1)

As a blog catering to academics, researchers and practitioners, Management INK features important content on key research topics. Besides highlighting top scholarship, we (the editorial team for the blog) wish for this venue to serve as a resource to inform but also to equip and grow readers in their research and writing activities. Lately we have seen some excellent articles published that speak to various issues surrounding academic research and writing. Over the next few days, we are pleased to provide a forum for reading and discussing articles that touch on topics, such as, the purpose of research, ethical publishing, peer review, writing practices, and collaboration in research. We invite you to read, share, and offer comments both here in the blog and on our Twitter page @SAGEManagement. Let’s dive in!

In this month’s issue of Administrative Science Quarterly, Editor-in-Chief Gerald F. Davis, asks “What is Organizational Research For?” In his article, Davis asks whose interests management research serves and whose interests should it serve? For research to shape decisions for public benefit, he adds “we need to make sure we know the constituency that research is serving.”

Organizational research is guided by standards of what journals will publish and what gets rewarded in ASQ_v60n2_Jun2014_cover.inddscholarly careers. This system can promote novelty rather than truth and impact rather than coherence. The advent of big data, combined with our current system of scholarly career incentives, is likely to yield a high volume of novel papers with sophisticated econometrics and no obvious prospect of cumulative knowledge development. Moreover, changes in the world of organizations are not being met with changes in how and for whom organizational research is done. It is time for a dialogue on who and what organizational research is for and how that should shape our practice.

Access the rest of the Table of Contents for this issue of Administrative Science Quarterly by clicking here. Keep up-to-date on all the latest news and research from ASQ by clicking here to sign up for e-alerts.


This article was featured on Harvard Business Review’s blog this week.

Submit Your Research to Compensation and Benefits Review!

pencil-1269186-mCompensation & Benefits Review is the leading journal for senior executives and professionals who design, implement, evaluate and communicate compensation and benefits policies and programs. The journal supports human resources and compensation and benefits specialists and academic experts with up-to-date analyses and information on salary and wage trends, labor markets, pay plans, incentive compensation, legal compliance, retirement programs, health care benefits and other employee benefit plans.

CBR_42_1_72ppiRGB_powerpointCompensation & Benefits Review is accepting bylined articles from experts and practitioners. Suggested topics include:

  • Incentive plans
  • Executive compensation
  • Health care benefits
  • Best practices case studies
  • Metrics, benchmarking and program evaluation

Articles must be a minimum of 2,000 words and can be as long as 10,000 words. SAGE will provide each author one copy of the issue of the journal in which the author’s contribution appears, as well as a PDF copy of the published article.

Ideas for articles should be submitted to the Editor. For more information, including where to send a brief proposal of your article, click here. To view a sample issue of Compensation & Benefits Review, click here.

Want to know about all the latest research from Compensation & Benefits Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Sign Up for Free Trial Month for SAGE Journals!

SJ-200x120We are pleased to announce that for the entire month of April, you can sign up for free access to SAGE Journals!

SAGE Journals  is one of the largest and most powerful collections of social sciences, business, humanities, science, technical, and medical content in the world! It offers over 1.3 million scholarly articles for inquisitive minds to peruse from more than 800 journals.

Researchers, practitioners and life-long learners alike are encouraged to take advantage of this offer. Business and management titles available include:

JOM 41(3)_Covers.inddJournal of Management is committed to publishing scholarly empirical and theoretical research articles that have a high impact on the management field as a whole. The journal encourages new ideas or new perspectives on existing research. Articles cover domains such as business strategy and policy, entrepreneurship, human resource management, organizational behavior, organizational theory, and research methods.

ASQ_v60n1_Mar2015_cover.inddAdministrative Science Quarterly is a top-ranked, quarterly, peer-reviewed journal that publishes the best theoretical and empirical papers on organizational studies from dissertations and the evolving, new work of more established scholars, as well as interdisciplinary work in organizational theory, and informative book reviews.

cqx coverCornell Hospitality Quarterly publishes theoretically rich, research articles that provide timely hospitality management implications for those involved or interested in the hospitality industry. The quarterly is a leading source for the latest research findings with strategic value addressing a broad range of topics that are relevant to hospitality, travel, and tourism.

This offer is only good through the month of April. To get started, click here. Happy reading!

Submit Your Research to SAGE Business Cases!


SAGE is looking to commission original business case studies. Please get in touch if you would like to write or submit a case!

SAGE Business Cases (SBC) is a digital collection of cases from across the range of Business & Management disciplines. Sold around the world directly to academic libraries, SBC will include cases that can be used for a wide range of pedagogical uses, from illustrating core business and management skills in the classroom to independent student projects. Scheduled to launch in Fall 2015, SBC will be delivered on SAGE’s digital library platform, SAGE Knowledge, which will allow for cases to be integrated with SAGE’s leading journal, book, reference, and video content.

What SAGE is looking for:

  • Well-written, dynamic cases that expose students to real-world business problems.
  • Cases can be written for the undergraduate or graduate level.
  • Cases can be based on field research or written using publically available sources.
  • Teaching notes to ensure effective classroom use.
  • 1,500-5,000 words in length.

Benefits of submitting your case:

  • Peer review of your case.
  • Honorarium paid when your case is accepted for publication.
  • Detailed metadata ensures your case is easily found and used by students and academics.
  • Discoverability of your existing publications on our SAGE Knowledge platform.
  • Digital format designed for how today’s students learn.

How can I get involved?

It is easy to get involved in SAGE Business Cases. Simply e-mail Maureen Adams for more information at maureen adams

Tips for scholars writing an op-ed

[Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to welcome SAGE Publications’ Michael Todd.]

“We need to apply the science of communication to the communication of science”  – Preston Manning

While the study of communicating will never be an exact science, it certainly behooves researchers to take some time to study the best ways to communicate their research to the public to extend their work’s impact. With special expertise on topics related to so many of today’s headlines, scholars can write op-eds and opinion pieces for news outlets and blogs from a unique and important perspective.

In an effort to share some best practices for writing an op-ed, we enlisted the insight of our own resident journalist (and Social Science Space Editor) Michael Todd. Read through his tips below.

wrenchesI.  Mechanics

–          Generally op-eds are 750 to 800 words long.

–          Unlike some academic writing, keep sentences reasonably short and clear, and paragraphs much shorter than you might be used to.

–          Do not use footnotes, and keep citations in your text to a minimum. If you must acknowledge others’ work (and with the word limit, be sure it is a must), identify the person/organization only. In other words,  do not use “as Smith (2006) found,” but “Innovative medical sociologist Susie Smith’s work with teens suggests …”

–          Avoid passive voice (but don’t obsess over this).

–          Be learned, but also be colloquial

–          Avoid all acronyms unless they already have a claim on the public consciousness (e.g. PTSD).

II.  Structure

–          Start by explaining why you’re telling me this now. This does not have to be a bald statement, and probably shouldn’t be. It can be an anecdote, a reflection on a current headline, or even a call to action, but it should be explicit and quick. Yes, there will be a headline that helps accomplish this, but ultimately the headline might change.

–          Consider explaining why you are telling me this. If you are writing about your specific research output, that’s easier. If you are writing about a current event and your expertise shines a light on some facet, briefly mention your background. Note: in general, your actual work will carry more weight with the public than your degrees.

–          Pick one facet of the issue and go deep. Do not attempt to sketch out the entire history or scope of the issue and end up dealing in broad generalities. Instead, stay focused and specific. There’s probably lots of interesting tangents you could find yourself on – save them for your next op-ed.

–          Know what you are asking and make sure your piece includes a call to action. The usual point of an op-ed is to spur action, and the reader should both be convinced of your point of view and know what to do about it.

–          Readers don’t care about literature searches and rarely care about methodology.

III.  Strategy

–          Identify who your audience will be before starting to write. Foreign Affairs or Wired readers can be assumed to have some background in their publication’s focus, but you can’t assume that about a or New York Times reader. Nonetheless, it’s dangerous to assume everyone already knows something that’s well-known in your field.

–          Satire and sarcasm rarely work. Humor can be misconstrued – don’t abandon it, but be careful. And if you’re not particularly funny, this is a bad time to try and change that.

–          Provide some specific and real-world examples. Readers live on the ground, not at 30,000 feet, so try not to use speculative examples. Remember the maxim: Show, don’t tell.

–          Briefly acknowledge obvious arguments against your position and equally briefly rebut them. If you’re seeking funding, explain why your project should have a claim on taxpayer money. While it is a zero-sum game, try not to pit your pork against someone else’s pork.

–          Also, acknowledge weaknesses of your position that you may not be able to rebut (e.g. it will be expensive or this will inconvenience some stakeholders) but explain why it’s worth acting anyway.

 IV.  Extra Tips

–          Having trouble? Start by writing a headline or a tweet that really summarizes what you want to say – this can really help cut to the chase and focus your piece if you have too many things to say.

–          Start writing even if it’s imperfect at first. Weak, but begun, is better than perfect and undone.


This post originally appeared on the SAGE Connection blog.

Is Your Research Boxed-In?

wooden-crate-1426375-mMany academics find themselves in an increasingly specialized area of research, which has benefits like creating an identity, increasing productivity and a feeling of belonging intellectually. Mats Alvesson and Jörgen Sandberg point out in their paper recently published in Organization Studies entitled “Habitat and Habitus: Boxed-in versus Box-Breaking Research,” that keeping within a particular research ‘box’ is a key mechanism for success within the Management and Organization Studies community. However, they argue for more ‘tolerance for box-breaking’, suggesting that by being skeptical and challenging of the field, by drawing on theories and conventions from other fields, and by deconstructing and negating dominant viewpoints in one’s own and others’ research, box changing, box jumping and box transcendence can lead to more dynamic and critical research.

The abstract:

This paper argues that scholarly work is increasingly situated in narrowly circumscribed areas of study, which are encouraging specialization, incremental adding-to-the-literature contributions and a blinkered mindset. Researchers home_coverinvest considerable time and energy in these specialized areas in order to maximize their productivity and career prospects. We refer to this way of doing research and structuring careers as boxed-in research. While such research is normally portrayed as a template for good scholarship, it gives rise to significant problems in management and organization studies, as it tends to generate a shortage of novel and influential ideas. We propose box-breaking research as a strategy for how researchers and institutions can move away from the prevalence of boxed-in research and, thus, be able to generate more imaginative and influential research results. We suggest three versions: box changing, box jumping and, more ambitiously, box transcendence.

Click here to read “Habitat and Habitus: Boxed-in versus Box-Breaking Research” for free from Organization Studies. Don’t miss other research from Organization Studies! Click here to sign up for e-alerts!