Ranjani Krishnan

Ranjani Krishnan, Ernest W. & Robert W. Schaberg Endowed Chair in Accounting

In the academic world, being nominated to serve as a journal’s department editor is a high honor. “It’s a signal of respect and recognition of the scholar who has been chosen, as well as a feather in the cap of the institute to which the scholar belongs,” Ranjani Krishnan, Ernest W. & Robert W. Schaberg Endowed Chair in Accounting, said.

Krishnan is speaking from experience: she was recently selected to serve as an accounting department editor for Management Science, a top 20 journal valued by business school deans. In September, she began a three-year term, representing MSU as a decision maker for the leading journal alongside another department editor, Suraj Srinivasan, from Harvard Business School.

Broad News: What kinds of research does Management Science publish?

Management Science publishes scientific research focusing on the problems, interests and concerns of managers. Within its scope are all aspects of management related to strategy, entrepreneurship, innovation, information technology and organizations as well as all functional areas of business, such as accounting, finance, marketing and operations.

The journal embraces multi-method approaches, such as integrating formal theory with empirical analysis, or combining survey, interview and experimental evidence. The editorial board comprises active researchers across multiple topics and methodologies. Their combined methodological and topical expertise ensures competent editorial guidance regardless of the paper’s methodology or topical area.

The journal receives about 4,000 new submissions each year, of which about 500 are specifically targeted at the accounting track.

Broad News: What are your responsibilities as an accounting department editor?

The first responsibility of the editor is to determine whether the submissions and manuscripts should be sent for review. A substantial proportion of manuscripts are desk rejected because they have a low chance of surviving the review process (due to limited contribution or flawed methodology). Desk rejection is an arduous task because it requires that the editor read the manuscript carefully and assess its scope and determine the strength of the design. In my role, I spend at least one day every week on this activity, throughout the year.

When manuscripts are sent for review, the next task is to determine whether to assign it to an associate editor. The editor’s responsibility is to ensure that associate editors are not overloaded. A substantial amount of time is spent trying to identify and follow up with associate editors and reviewers to ensure that a reasonable turnaround is maintained so that the review process time period is not excessive.

After the reviews arrive from associate editors, a determination is made by the editor regarding the quality of the reviews. It is important for the editor to ensure that the reviewer is objective because even for manuscripts with promise, reviewers are often split in their opinions. Determining which way to rule on the manuscript is a challenging and critical task for the editor.

The editor also participates in panel meetings and attends conferences to maintain knowledge about the frontiers of research and to showcase the journal to maintain its prominence. Additionally, Srinivasan and I have been tasked with “moving the needle” in terms of identifying accounting research that makes a contribution to critical or emerging areas such as health care, climate change and diversity.

Broad News: How will your role enrich the Broad College’s work?

Editors have a responsibility of shaping their disciplines and influencing the nature of the discussions and discourse in the field. We play this role through our decisions with respect to the selection of associate editors and reviewers, design of special issues and having the final say in decisions related to acceptance or rejection of manuscripts.

An editorial position usually implies that the scholar is considered by the academy to have demonstrated research leadership in their field. Journals also look for scholars who are interdisciplinary in their approach to their own research portfolio and who demonstrate an open-mindedness to multiple paradigms and methodologies.

Promising young academics and Ph.D. students generally are attracted to institutions where faculty serve on editorial positions because of the scope for receiving mentorship and the opportunities to advance their understanding and their research portfolios. Thus, journal editorship is an important recruitment tool for attracting high-caliber faculty and graduate students.

Prominent journals usually have editors from premier private institutions, and the ability of the Broad College faculty to break into these circles is valuable for the college and contributes to its reputation, recognition and rankings.