I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen an announcement about some event and thought, “Darn! I’ve already missed it”—when, in fact, it won’t occur for another couple of weeks.
That’s because magazine editors tend to work far in advance of the cover dates of their issues and they sometimes forget what month it really is. It takes weeks to assemble, edit, write, design, produce, and mail a trade publication of any substance or style. The timetable is even slower for academic journals, which might require up to two years to get an accepted paper into print—at which point some of the research might already be out of date.
But the Internet, which has rearranged so many aspects of our 21st-century lives, is also influencing the pace of publishing. Everyone knows about the “citizen reporters” who supply information to CNN and other media giants—or post breaking news on their own blogs and Twitter accounts. It turns out that blogs and Twitter feeds are new outlets for academic research as well. Faculty in all disciplines are learning how to share parts of their research through social media, supplying links to existing papers, asking for feedback, and following developments in related fields as they unfold.
Other authors are using the Internet to publish entire articles through open-access journal models that allow them not only to quickly make results available, but also to track who’s reading their articles and who’s sharing the information with others. It’s a whole new way of assessing impact, and it’s leading to new kinds of collaboration among authors. These approaches, and other trends in academic business research, are discussed in two articles in this issue: “Business Research Goes Public” and “Research Revolution.”
As for BizEd? We’re also looking for ways to publish more timely information more quickly. For instance, we use our Twitter account @BizEdMag to post links to news that catches our attention or includes a deadline that the printed publication will miss. And later this year we plan to unveil an updated website that will allow us to post key announcements more quickly and blog about exciting developments in the industry. The printed magazine will still arrive every two months, but the web page will contain supplemental information that we want readers to have as soon as possible.
The truth is, journalists and researchers share a primary goal: They want other people to see their work. They want to share what they’ve learned, and they want to share it with anyone who can benefit from the knowledge they’ve acquired. I believe that reading a hard-copy printed version of a publication is still an incomparable experience, but I’m intrigued by the possibilities of instant digital updates, too. Another upside? I won’t lose track of the days when I’m posting in real time. I won’t miss out on anything, after all.