Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Publishing Preferences among Academic Researchers: Implications for Academic Quality and Innovation

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Publishing Preferences among Academic Researchers: Implications for Academic Quality and Innovation

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Researchers strive to publish their research ideas, thoughts and innovations in quality journals to influence societal change and make positive contributions in their fields of endeavour. These publications form the major basis for decision-making among appointment and promotion committees. Apart from these motivations, researchers are driven by the need for self-actualisation and continually strive to have their research recognised within the communities of scholars. In addition to these inherent and professional benefits, scholarly publications may in real terms yield monetary rewards to researchers as they may use highly ranked publications to apply for research grants and travel funding (Wagner, 2012; Bédard & Gendron, 2003). Increasingly, academic funding and staff development and planning is reliant on the number and perceived quality of academic journal publications (Villiers & Dumay, 2013). The role of scholarly publications can sometimes be far-fetched. The research output of a particular researcher may be the singular basis for taking redundancy decisions. Harzing (2010) and Englebrecht et al. (2008) refer to the "publish or perish" phenomenon and comment on the resulting behavioural adjustments researchers are forced to make.

Despite the fact that many researchers recognize the importance of publishing and a number of them often manage to publish their research, the choice of publishing in a highly rated journal is not always a decision they can appropriate to themselves. In certain cases, top tier journals get at least ten times as many submissions as they are able to publish, ensuring low acceptance rates (Guthrie & Parker, 2012). Consequently, researchers whose works end up being rejected by top rated journals end up publishing "anywhere" without considering the potential low impact of their research due to their publication preferences. For most academic researchers in Ghana, getting published is a sine qua non for promotion and tenure, as well as for personal and professional prestige, and to a large extent a contributor to academic quality and innovation. Academic researchers in Ghana consist of academic staff such as lecturers, research fellows and librarians. In addition, researchers are also found in other professional units within academic, research and professional institutions. Consequently, this study defines researchers as academic staff of an institution of higher learning who are involved in research activities for the purpose of promoting teaching, learning, research and community service.

Even though academic researchers are expected to publish in high quality academic journals, it appears that a number of these researchers publish in low quality journals and this potentially leads to low impact of their research findings. The literature reveals that not much has been studied in relation to the reasons why academic researchers in Ghana publish in the type of journals they publish in. This study is an attempt to find out the motivations of researchers to publish in the type of journals they publish in, with the ultimate aim of contributing to solutions for improving academic research quality and innovation. The study is expected to create new knowledge and add to the existing literature on academic publishing in Ghana. The findings may be of benefit to academic and research institutions, members of appointments and promotion boards, assessors and reviewers, librarians, journal publishers and editors, as well as the researchers themselves.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The purpose of the study is to explore the factors responsible for publication preferences among a select group of researchers attending a research writing workshop in Ghana. Specifically, the study attempts to find answers to the following research questions:

RQ1 : What factors motivate researchers to publish their research findings?

RQ2: What factors influence researchers' journal selection decisions? …

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