Can we beat them in terms of publishing in top tier journal?

     I was nothing to do tonight until I thought it is better for me to browse summer course on behavioural finance. I just do not want to miss other rigorous summer course just like I missed the Yale one. I put the words “Behavioral Finance Summer Course” on Mr.Google. As I expected, there are not many summer course regarding this area. Then, I started searching the course by browsing the top universities. Interestingly, I ended up in browsing all the PhD student of abroad universities such as MIT Sloan, Cass, CBS, BBS, and so on.

     For your information, in our Fellow room, most of us are a good in publication. Even though, only a few can enter tier 3 journals, but in terms of quantity, I can conclude my 22 colleagues are good in publication. For example, Hassan can publish 5-8 publications in a year. Similar to him is Elham. She can publish up to 8 publication also a year. Our “Big Boss” Yudi, he can publish up to 10 a year. It is just the same with our Amu (Uncle) Jason, who emphasizes more on quality.

     Yes, almost the 22 residents of fellow room can publish their works. Sulaiman, our new resident, just successfully got acceptance from Humanomics. This situation seems good but actually it is not! I keep saying to my colleagues to stop chasing quantity and start moving to quality (just like Jason and Pak Yudi did!). We have to benchmark our quality to the best universities. This is where the story begins…

      I opened the MIT Sloan Finance section page. I read one by one the PhD student on that university. One of the students has successfully published on Journal of Financial Economics!!! Now, our quantity of publication seems nothing. The shinning of our achievement is gone. To my knowledge, our finance student just successfully entered Journal of Bioeconomics, Journal of Behavioural Finance, Asian Academy of Management Journal of Accounting and Finance, and Review Middle East Economics and Finance. These four journals are top tier 3 or C journals. But, up to the prestige of Journal of Banking and Finance? None. Journal of Financial Economics? Indeed, None.

     So, how we can “fight back” this situation? Okay, our first problem is English. Even though we use English in our daily conversation, but in term of academically writing, we are too far behind. As the President of PhD club, I am thinking to conduct one academic writings workshop. But I do not have any idea who will be the trainer. D’Oh!

     Second, in Columbia Business School, they have PhD presentation every week. Our school also has this regular presentation which-so-called as Monday Presentation. What is the different? In CBS, they attend it, comment it, and discuss it. In our school, if 5 out 200s PhD students come, it will be a “crowd”. In some universities, the students have to read one seminal paper and replicate it. This reminds me to my colleague: Muath Asmar. He is the only student who replicated seminal papers such as Jegadeesh and Titman, Fama and French, and so on to acquire comprehensive understanding about the topic. How many PhD students in our school have done this? Hm…

     What else other universities do? Cass Business School, LSE, and Manchester Business School hold many workshops and talks. It is followed by a discussion. Ours? Yes! We have many workshops. It is more to technical workshop such as Amos, SPSS, Eviews, Logistic Regression, MANCOVA, and many more. But how about a discussion regarding topical research? We have it actually. We called it Management Series. Number of attendances? Small. Continuity of the series? Hm.. If the school successfully invited top scholars to give a talk, number of attendances? Small. Even the technical workshop is attended by small group. Now, we know why we left far behind.

      I think we should overcome this issue first and change the quantity to quality. Indeed, I know that as a Fellowship holders we have to publish at least 2 publication a year. But it does not mean we have to stop chasing the “quality”. For me, quality does matter. Quantity is matter for fellowship extension only. After publishing 2 international journals, start to aim the best one.

     Yes! We are weak. But it does not mean we cannot reach those top tier journals. We have to make a good strategy. So far, my idea is only to call all Finance PhD students, and start to make a discussion about one issue. We can also discuss one seminal papers. It does not matter if the outcome is a paper or not. We just have to share and receive knowledge each other. But, do you willing to do this?

     This situation makes me think, is there any possibility we can pass them? All those top students? I mean of course in term of quality. If we attend the Monday presentation, make a small group discussion (by cluster), attend the workshop and talks, start reading more and try to replicate it in different context, and start writing a paper, it is not impossible one day we can surpass them. What do you think?

P.S: Publication = Indexed International Journal. No matter it is indexed in Scopus, EBSCO, CABELL’s, Econlit, and so on

1 thought on “Can we beat them in terms of publishing in top tier journal?

  1. Hi Raye,

    Haven’t heard from me in a long while. I read your post and gave it much thought and I have to agree with you that it is very difficult to enter into the realm of Tier 1 journals with the type of education we have received. The things is, excuse me for saying this, but how are we as students going to publish in Tier 1 journals if our supervisors whom some are Professors and Associate Professors have not done so as well. Save for Prof. Ramayah, none have reached that level that you are aspiring to get to.

    So, the basic intellectual discourse is important. That is why when I was a PhD student wanted to bring in some top finance academics to USM to offer their expertise to sharing them through a seminar presentation. I only managed to get one to attend which is Professor Danny Quah of LSE. Therefore, instead of the having “world class infrastructure” available to us, the School should be spending money bringing in on let’s start on a quarterly basis some top lecturers for brown bag seminars, understanding the fundamentals of finance especially financial modelling. Our problem is we are not quantitative enough. If you notice many of the PhD students in Finance at Ivy League univerisities have first degrees in Physics and in some cases Maths.

    It is too late now to go back and do a first degree in Physics but we have to start to look at Finance on a more quantitative basis. If you look, many papers in behavoural finance are quantitative in nature or at least the analysis of the data is. Even if we cannot bring top notch Professors to guide us or teach us a new way of thinking, perhaps an invitation to 2nd tier Professor would also do. An exchange with newly graduated PhD students from Ivy League universities would be also a good way to gain knowledge.

    Bottom line is we must do something to improve ourselves. As for the poor attendance at seminars, it is this culture we must get rid of. As a start, it should be complusory for all Finance students to attend. Even though it may not be in your area, as Finance students it is your responsibility to actually attend to gain knowledge of Finance in general as it is you who are going back to teach Finance in your own respective universities once you graduate. You are not going to teach to your students on the area you did your thesis on, right?

    Therefore, a holistic approach to learning Finance must be inculcated. Hope this helps frame your thoughts.


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