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  • Writer's pictureFarhana Tabassum

Sense and Sensibility: with Ana Valenzuela

Written by Farhana Tabassum, Ph.D. Candidate in Marketing, BI Norwegian Business School


IJRM Area Editor Ana Valenzuela talks passionately about her journey and gives us a glimpse of her role as a gatekeeper of scholarly papers.


Ana Valenzuela

It is no exaggeration to say that the process of reviewing is challenging. Even experienced researchers approach it with apprehension when they are faced with helping papers through the long and winding road towards publication. In this one-on-one conversation with Ana Valenzuela, IJRM Area Editor, from Baruch College, City University of New York, I take the opportunity to learn about reviewing inside-out.


How do you assign the papers to your reviewers?


"There are different routes I follow as an Associate Editor. We assign two reviewers - one from the editorial board and the other is ad-hoc. Sometimes the suggestions come from the editor. Sometimes I know the topic very well, so I know who the experts are. When this is not the case, I simply go to Google Scholar to find out experts who deal with the same topic and have published in the same area. That is how I request a reviewer."


Do you handle papers only from areas you have published in?


"Well, I am at the mercy of what the editors send my way. Sometimes I do reject it if I really feel that I cannot contribute, but if the process or the question seems similar to something that I have done before, and I think I can contribute even though it might not be exactly in my area of expertise, then I accept."

What is the line of demarcation for a paper? What do you look for?


"I want to see the contribution; that is of utmost importance. A contribution could be either theoretical, meaning that the paper is coming up with a theoretical framework that is novel, or practical, meaning that the paper is answering a question that has a high managerial implication. For some papers the contribution is substantial, meaning that the paper addresses an important question that offers a transformative value, although it does not have an immediate managerial relevance. Currently, there are many emerging topics, for instance, new technology, meta-verse, block-chain, and so on, and they have a substantial value that influences or changes consumer behavior."


What has been the review process like over your 20 years of being an academic?


"I will share my experience both as a recipient of reviews and as a reviewer. In the beginning, when I needed reviews, or I was a user of reviews, I needed someone who would care for my areas so much so to give feedback. I was lucky to have had instances of that. I received very good feedback for my papers from JCR, JCP, and IJRM. When you are at the starting point, you need care, you need reviewers who care for your idea and are willing to spend time to improve the paper. This is what I try to do now as a reviewer and an AE. I have spent years learning the craft from the reviewers who reviewed my papers. "

"As a mature reviewer, I follow the same approach that I learned as an early-career researcher. It is a promise that I made to myself. I spend time thinking about what the paper means, what the authors need, and how I can offer help to build the paper." - Ana Valenzuela

"At IJRM, the reviewers work very hard. I appreciate the fantastic opportunity to learn when authors send things our way to get reviews and feedback. This allows ideas to grow and allows us to grow as researchers, and this is how ideas flourish and knowledge advances."


"Generally, as a reviewer, I try to give ideas to build the paper together with the authors, while as an AE, I take up the role to organize all these ideas into a roadmap that is clear."


What needs to be done to improve writing?


"First, listen to your advisors and co-authors. They can guide you on how to write and position your paper. Writing is not only about style but also about idea positioning. Second, have a lot of people read your work and ask for friendly reviews. Third, use a copy editor whether English is your first language or not. In addition, learning how to review is equally important. For example, at Baruch, our Ph.D. students are required to write a review for the comprehensive exam. I really like JCR’s trainee reviewer program and from now on IJRM is also going to organize review workshops as well. All such initiatives for Ph.D. students are great. Writing a good review also enables you to write a good paper. You should start it as early as possible."


Let’s make it personal!


What’s your typical workday like?


"I work a lot with PhD students. I like to dedicate long hours to my research, ideally, a couple of days in a row. Even though I try and get the administrative tasks done as fast as possible, I am not always successful there."


What keeps you going with the work you do?


"I love the questions I have asked. I think they are pretty interesting. Since I want to know more about my research questions, I love spending a lot of time on them."


What would you be if you were not an academic?


"I am super-happy being an academic. In the very beginning, I wished to be a dancer and I do have a professional diploma in ballet. Then I wanted to be a doctor but ended up being a marketing consultant. These were on my wish list of alternative professions."


What is your favorite pastime?


"I exercise, dance, socialize, and visit museums. NYC is culturally very vibrant and I like attending cultural events here. I love visiting Spain very much. As soon as I am done with a semester, I fly back to Spain."

 

This article was written by

Farhana Tabassum

Ph.D. Candidate in Marketing

BI Norwegian Business School

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