Welcome to a new year – a year that I, and probably many of the readers, hope will bring us closer to the end of the pandemic, back to our offices and laboratories, back to a face-to-face meeting with colleagues and students, and back to the many workplaces that we study as part of our research.
As we begin the new year, we perhaps all also hope that we will again be able to devote more of our time to the research we do and to publish its most important findings in journals such as the Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology (SJWOP). The journal has existed for five years now, and I would like to use this editorial note to thank everyone who was part of this success: the editorial team, the extended editorial board, all our reviewers and last but not least, all the authors, who have contributed enormously to the journal’s development so far. Thank you!
Furthermore, let me share a few updates with you about the bulk of our work that happens ‘behind the scenes’. In our striving to establish and consolidate SJWOP, we have devoted the last year to an expansion of the editorial board, and we have engaged more researchers with different expertise in the extended editorial board. For the continued development of the reputation and recognition of SJWOP it is crucial that the authors’ published work can be found, read and cited. Perhaps the most important achievement of the last year is that we have succeeded in getting SJWOP listed in SCOPUS beginning in 2021 meaning that the published content will now reach a wider audience. Publications of SJWOP are also indexed in databases such as CrossRef, EBSCO Knowledge Base or Google Scholar and the Dircetory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Furthermore, and perhaps most important to Scandinavian researchers, SJWOP has, furthermore, been listed as a level 1 journal in the Danish Bibliometric Research Indicator (BFI), the National Publication Forum in Finland, and the Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers. As a way to make science available to everyone, we offer full open access to all articles. In addition, we spread knowledge about our publications in social media channels where researchers and practitioners can easily find us, such as LinkedIn and Research Gate, but also Twitter and Facebook.
For continuous improvement of the journal, we as editors strive to ensure the publication of papers that contribute to the knowledge of researchers and practitioners in our field. After five years, I want to use this editorial note primarily to share some insights that I believe to be of importance for everyone who wants to publish their research in SJWOP.
First, what the editorial team always looks for is to publish studies that add value to our field. Value may reside in exploring new phenomena, which increase in salience as working life evolves and changes, in looking at a topic from a new angle or in extending and developing theories to better explain how people feel, think or behave with respect to their work, their role or career. Added value may also include advancements in methodological rigor. Sometimes, added value may be found in studies that probe whether explanatory models hold across context, diverse samples, or different spells of time for potential effects to evolve. However, if the study is a mere replication of what is already known, extended to a new sample or variable, because ‘to the best knowledge of the author, this has not been tested yet’, without being able to present how such a new sample, time interval, or extra variable can add any new knowledge, it often does not warrant publication. The same goes for qualitative studies claiming to seek ‘deeper understanding’ without being able to pinpoint what this kind of understanding is needed for.
Second, it is not only important to have a study that can make a contribution; the paper also needs to communicate that contribution – it needs to spell it out in a clear and compelling way. It is equally important that the contribution the study is intended to make fits within the theoretical frameworks presented and that the authors can show how earlier studies fell short of investigating what their own study is supposed to demonstrate.
Third, a sound theoretical framework to develop assumptions from, or in case of exploratory qualitative studies, the framing vis-á-vis earlier work in the area, is of great importance to make a real contribution. Hence, in every manuscript, we expect a sound theoretical underpinning and/or a convincing summary of shortcomings in earlier empirical work.
Fourth, we have noted that sometimes, the quality of a paper does not meet our expectations when it comes to the fit between what the authors claim to study and what their empirical work really can show. This can concern the measurements used, the sample and sample size at hand, or the analytical work. At times, authors present sub-standard analyses that make too little use of the data at hand. Other times the contrary is the case: very ambitious analytics are used; however, they cannot test the propositions of the study because of restrictions inherent in the study design or the sample size.
Fifth, given the constraints imposed by real work and organizational settings, there is never such a thing as a perfect study – even though we all are striving for coming as close as possible to ‘perfection’. Consequently, authors need to help their readers to draw reasonable conclusions as to what the findings at hand really mean. A well-balanced discussion of all strengths and shortcomings and their implications for what we can learn from reading a paper is fundamental for us to consider publication.
Sixth, we as editors want to publish studies that develop our field and add to the existing knowledge and understanding of work and organizations. But above and beyond this scientific impact, all of our publications have a practical impact, meaning that they are read and used in daily work and thus have real consequences, be it in recruitment decisions, the organization of work, the creation of work and safety environments, and so forth. When deciding what to publish, we have the responsibility to ask ourselves what practical consequences the publication can have.
Last but not least, we want to stress the importance of following our author guidelines for formalia and the APA standards for referencing when preparing manuscripts for submission. We would also like to encourage authors to make use of language services or colleagues who are native English speakers to guarantee that their command of the language is satisfying. These are important details as the language and the structure are key to the understanding of the results of research.
I hope that by sharing my insights after five years of editorial work for SJWOP, this editorial note can encourage and help authors to do their very best for providing valuable contributions to our journal. As we all know, the art of doing a research study and writing about it is not easily pinned down; it is a complex and often challenging undertaking. I believe that we all engage in this work because we are motivated by the idea to improve work life for millions of people around the world. I, and my whole editorial team, see the work we do with SJWOP as one step on the way towards this goal. We invite all of you to contribute to our striving for making the journal a platform where Scandinavian and international researchers in our area can share their findings in order to increase theoretical understanding and, above all, inspire practical work to improve and develop the world of working for today’s and future generations.
Editor-in-chief, Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
I am grateful to the associate editors and Sofie Wennström for comments and feedback on this editorial.
The author has no competing interests to declare.