Discoveries in Brief

Discoveries-in-Brief empower authors to craft their manuscripts in nontraditional ways that make for tighter, more engaging narratives.

This is a permanent open call. For more information, click here.

In recent years, management scholars have noted—and lamented—the absence of engaging writing in our field (e.g., Alvesson & Gabriel, 2013; Caulley, 2008; Dane, 2011; Tourish, 2020). Among other problems, this lack of engaging writing limits our ability to effectively engage a variety of audiences, thus inhibiting the reach of our work. AMD has relaunched Discoveries-in-Brief, along with a slightly modified review process, to address this area for improvement in management scholarship.  

There are two main goals for Discoveries-in-Brief. The first is to empower authors to craft their manuscripts in nontraditional ways that make for tighter, more engaging narratives. Narratives in peer-review papers are often fragmented or underdeveloped. Consider the following observation by a science writer, concerning the typical experience of engaging with academic work:

One lesson I’ve learned is that it can take work to piece together the story underlying a paper. If I call scientists and simply ask them to tell me about what they’ve done, they can offer me a riveting narrative of intellectual exploration. But on the page, we readers have to assemble the story for ourselves. (Zimmer, 2020)

In writing for Discoveries-in-Brief, you can—and should—provide a riveting narrative. Your story should speak for itself, so that no “assembly” by the reader is required.  

The second goal for Discoveries-in-Brief is to provide a streamlined review process that enables these articles to be published as quickly as possible. Manuscripts that are submitted as Discoveries-in-Brief—or that are identified by the editorial team as possible Discoveries-in-Brief articles—will be handled by either Erik Dane (Associate Editor) or Kevin Rockmann (Editor) and will be considered for expeditious publication, subject to the paper’s reception by the review team.

What are the core elements of a Discoveries-in-Brief article?

As with all AMD articles, Discoveries-in-Brief articles must connect directly to management and organizational research. Because AMD is a “big tent” journal representing the entire academy—encompassing micro, meso, and macro perspectives on behavior—a wide range of research topics are suitable for publication in Discoveries-in-Brief, provided the authors make the connections to the field evident.

Also, as with all AMD articles, Discoveries-in-Brief articles can be based on any empirically grounded methodology. Thus, findings based on experiments, surveys, archival records, interviews, and ethnographic observations (among other possible sources of data) are all viable candidates for consideration. By design, these articles do not require direct evidence of underlying mechanisms. Nevertheless, authors should be able to provide preliminary evidence or compelling speculation concerning what might account for the results or phenomena of note.

Why would I submit a Discoveries-in-Brief?

There may be many motivations for doing so, including:

  • You are interested in writing a galvanizing piece akin to a newspaper or magazine feature article reporting on your empirical exploration.
  • You are bored with the traditional structure of journal articles and would like to try something different.
  • You wish to work on your creative writing skills to make your academic writing more engaging or develop your capacity to write for a broader range of audiences.
  • You have timely, relevant data and want to get your findings published in a timely way.

What are the page and reference limits for a Discoveries-in-Brief article?

Under 20 pages of standard text, not including references, tables, figures, appendices, title page, and abstract. Under 20 references. 

How should a Discoveries-in-Brief article be structured?

We are all familiar with the traditional boilerplate structure for publishing in academic journals—introduction, literature review, methodology, analysis, results, and discussion. Discoveries-in-Brief articles need not conform to this structure. In fact, because these submissions must be less than 20 pages of standard text, authors should privilege parsimony and consider how to distill their contribution into a concise yet coherent framework. Think of a Discoveries-in-Brief article as a feature-length article that might appear in a newspaper or magazine (e.g., Bloom, 2014; Gawande, 2011; Weingarten, 2007). You have the freedom in this format to simply tell the story (Pollock & Bono, 2013; Ragins, 2012) and thus, engage your readers from start to finish. Some options for you to think about with regard to structure:

  • Place your methodology and perhaps even some of your findings in tables/appendices.
  • Incorporate data throughout the entire piece in a clear and transparent manner.
  • Use succinct titles and headings, tight paragraphs, and smooth transitions to make your work accessible for as wide of an audience as possible (including students and practitioners of management and people who value high quality feature writing).

It is easier to publish a Discoveries-in-Brief article?

No. These articles are not “AMD Lite.” That is, the distinction between Discoveries-in-Brief articles and other AMD articles is not simply a matter of page length. One of the benefits—and challenges—of publishing such an article is liberation from the structures to which we are typically tethered. Executed effectively, the entire article is readable for a broad range of audiences. A Discoveries-in-Brief article should be comprehensible and compelling in the hands of colleagues, students, managers, journalists, relatives, friends, and enemies. This type of article houses a clear, well-specified insight. It should be easy for anyone reading the article to appreciate and summarize its focus.

How much creativity is welcome?

Discoveries-in-Brief articles provide authors with a rare opportunity: license to innovate. This license is not limited to the manuscript’s structure alone. Engaging writing is valued, as well. Discoveries-in-Brief encourages personal voice, creative expression, and emotional content—provided clarity is not sacrificed for the sake of style. Done skillfully, writing can be both clear and creative. Discoveries-in-Brief articles can serve to illustrate this point.

Are commentaries or “thought pieces” welcome for Discoveries-in-Brief?

No. As with all AMD manuscripts, Discoveries-in-Brief should be empirical articles undertaken to study compelling phenomena without a priori hypotheses. 

To submit a manuscript: go to ScholarOne Manuscripts/AMD and follow the directions.

References

Alvesson, M., & Gabriel, Y. 2013. Beyond formulaic research: In praise of greater diversity in organizational research and publications. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12: 245-263.

Bloom, P. 2014. The war on reason. The Atlantic, March, 2014. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/03/the-war-on-reason/357561/

Caulley, D. N. 2008. Making qualitative research reports less boring: The techniques of writing creative nonfiction. Qualitative Inquiry, 14: 424-449.

Dane, E. 2011. Changing the tune of academic writing: Muting cognitive entrenchment. Journal of Management Inquiry, 20: 332-336.

Gawande, A. 2011. Personal best. The New Yorker, September 26, 2011. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/10/03/personal-best

Pollock, T. G., & Bono, J. E. 2013. Being Scheherazade: The importance of storytelling in academic writing. Academy of Management Journal, 56: 629-634.

Ragins, B. R. 2012. Reflections on the craft of clear writing. Academy of Management Review, 37: 493-501.

Tourish, D. 2020. The triumph of nonsense in management studies. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 19: 99-109.

Weingarten, G. 2007. Pearls before breakfast. Washington Post, April 8, 2007. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/pearls-before-breakfast-can-one-of-the-nations-great-musicians-cut-through-the-fog-of-a-dc-rush-hour-lets-find-out/2014/09/23/8a6d46da-4331-11e4-b47c-f5889e061e5f_story.html

Zimmer, C. 2020. How you should read coronavirus studies, or any science paper. New York Times, June 1, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/article/how-to-read-a-science-study-coronavirus.html?algo=identity&fellback=false&imp_id=116908739&action=click&module=Science%20%20Technology&pgtype=Homepage