Competitive Intelligence

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Interest in starting an online-only academic CI journal?

I'd like to open a discussion on the possibility of (re)starting and academic, peer-reviewed CI journal using an online-only format. This could be done with or without SCIP's involvement, and could be a way of providing a journal with minimum financial expense. There are many open source publishing systems set up to do this.

The biggest challenge would be finding (and compensating) an editorial staff. Perhaps the academic members of the CI community could absorb it into their work responsibilities, soliciting volunteer editors and reviewers from other CI practioners. I don't know what the requirements are for a journal article to be considered "published" for purposes of faculty tenure review and promotion. Perhaps it could follow the requirements of the previous SCIP journals.

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I'm very interested in an online journal. I'm receptive to the idea of an academic journal, because it helps to define a profession with standards and rigor. However, writing peer-reviewed articles is a whole order of magnitude more difficult than writing an article based on particular corporate or consulting experience. I enjoyed and benefited from some of the JCIM and CIR articles, but wonder if we have enough folks who would jump through the hoops and cope with the obstacle course which an academic journal can be.

Does academic peer review for such a journal have enough benefit for the author who is NOT in academia and who is NOT attempting to survive the publish/perish world?

An online magazine comparable to CI Magazine would be easy to assemble, and of great practical value. I just was talking with someone yesterday about the use of Joomla for such an effort, since there are online magazine templates that would fit nicely with this structure. A group of contributing columnists could easily feed such a magazine, and subscriptions could probably be free with a little site advertising to subsidize hosting costs.

For either the popular online mag or the online academic journal, it would probably not be difficult to assemble an unpaid editorial staff. The difficulty would be the Publisher/Editor In Chief who would also need to concern him/herself with a publishing schedule so the content refreshes regularly and there's not too much overlap/redundancy for content. Probably still unpaid, but a much more demanding job and not for the faint hearted.
My sense is these are two different pubs but could certainly coexist and multiply one another's influence. Again I think the key is a cost structure marginal to zero and if we could get donated resources then ensuring ongoing access is a simple matter of making the database of articles freely exportable as a single, always up-to-date file download, something I know Drupal and Traction (not sure about Joomla) come with stock.
Never looked at it, but Joomla typically uses a MYSQL database by default. Another kind can be designated. Don't know what would be needed to pull an archival extract. I know Joomla is used for some very heavyweight sites like:
* United Nations -
* MTV Networks Quizilla (Social networking) -
* IHOP (Restaurant chain) -
* Harvard University (Educational) -
* Citibank (Financial institution intranet) - Not publicly accessible
* The Green Maven (Eco-resources) -
* Outdoor Photographer (Magazine) -
* (Cultural) -
* Senso Interiors (Furniture design) -

The key I guess is volunteer functions:
- IT/Web crew
- Editorial staff
- Contributing writers
- Review panel(s)

and an academic journal would probably need to launch and run for a bit to get evaluated as sufficiently serious for "peer-review" status in the academic world.
Yes, Arik, I agree these must be 2 different publications.

A CI magazine will automatically exclude academics just of the simple fact that academics must publish original research in an academic form. A CI magazine can on the other hand profit much from a Journal and vice versa. This is an important decision which I hope the board will decide on before the ECIS 2009 Conference when European CI Academics will make their own decisions on this topic. So, 1 or 2 publications? Academic journal or not?

Many here have complained about CI as a poorly developed discipline and profession; that it is too much about the cycle and not enough about Analysis. Part of this has to do with our own training. Thus both professionals and academics need each other. SCIP needs an academic journal to survive intellectually and as a profession in the long run. SCIP can come out in two ways from these discussions; stronger or weaker.

As others have suggested here the academic world of CI is not that large. If this is to work we need the cooperation of a broad international group of academics, many of whom are subscribing to this ning. Non- academics may of cause also admit articles, but they must be evaluated on the same grounds.

The moment SCIP signals it will run this alone as a predominantly American organization with a large majority of American board members the chances of bringing such a group together will deteriorate. If this is to work you need a CEO with an Obama-like perspective, who can lift his head above party lines and make courageous compromises.


Just playing devil's advocate here: if a) academics REQUIRE a resource-intensive publication to achieve their goals and b) such resources are scarce as institutions fall under pressure, might the future box you into a corner?

From my perspective as a practitioner, career respect tends to come when you publish through the Giant Media Complex and pretend to be Malcolm Gladwell or Peter Drucker or something. Hardcover is better than softcover; big publisher is better than small. The only problem is, sometime since we formed that assumption, the entire corporate-conglomerated media business fell apart. Now, it's easy to get info into people's hands, it's easy to print ideas on paper, but the real trick is deciding what is legitimate and what is derivative and forgettable. The relative resource-intensiveness is no longer a guide to the value of the writing.

Could we do a mixed-use publication that would combine academic-level publishing, practical expository writing, even interviews? Since this is digital, maybe twice a year we could yank out the academic level stuff to form a journal. Otherwise, we're stuck in the trap of scrambling to produce a journal of a certain number of pages.

I have no definite answers, but I know that the rules of publishing are changing very rapidly - perhaps we should respond.
Eric hi

Please please don't put Malcolm Gladwell and Peter Drucker in the same category.

One is a capable journalist who knows how to tell and write a good story, and is not overly concerned to list the many sources from whom he derives some of his ideas. The other was a highly-original and reflective thinker and writer, albeit not in academia, whose writings continue to be at the heart of sound, sensible, managerial thinking.

Was thinking sales volume and notoriety- but of course you are right!

Different folks might have a different perspective on this, but I think we were discussing this potential journal without any SCIP involvement at all...and perhaps no CEO. It's possible you would need some sort of governing structure for academic acceptance, but to the degree that this could be a more free-lance operation, I think that's the direction it was leading.

OK, you guys are making one feel guilty for having big projects to do at work, going to baseball games, sleeping in and enjoying leisurely breakfasts. I really am excited by the ideas and energy I see flowing in this discussion and that CI people are picking up the mantle of meeting our needs as a profession and getting down to brass tacks about how to do that using technology and volunteer efforts to take advantage of what Clay Shirky calls the rebalancing of the costs of collective action.

At least for the popular journal I would encourage you to think more broadly than home-grown and made for purpose content to take advantage of the opportunity to syndicate content from many of the great bloggers writing about CI and related topics as well as recasts and summaries of the great content that goes on here.

I'm sure you didn't mean to imply that CI is that narrow - I see it as interacting with strategy, innovation, entrepreneurship, risk management, organizational psychology, environmental scanning, organizational theory, foresight, international business and marketing, and a wide variety of other disciplines and subject areas.

One issue that occupies me is why, if there is this extensive list of adjacent areas, has CI has NOT become rooted in managerial academic work. Is this just to do with perceptions that CI is something to be avoided, or somehow not quite proper?

Two-three years ago, I looked at the entire Academy of Management program for their huge annual meeting (with well over 1000 papers presented - and where almost EVERY doctoral student of management and business sooner or later attends or presents); there was not even one paper that dealt with competitive intelligence or even mentioned it by name. And yet, as I indicated above, there is potentially such a wide variety of management, business and organizational issues that impact on CI, that any serious journal dealing in a broad sense with CI should not have a lack of potential material.

It might be useful neverthless to see where people DO sometimes publish CI-related papers, or papers which, in my opinion, have something useful to say for CI academics or practitioners. A quick list - off the top of my head, includes Organization, Organization Studies, Futures, Long Range Planning, The International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning, Business Information Review, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Intelligence and National Security, Journal of Information Science, the (online, free) journal Information Research (which even had a special issue on CI some years ago) - and there's more besides.

In short, there's a large and rich, CI-related world out there, with people writing and publishing material which is worth reading, and is often highly relevant, in a range of fascinating and diverse journals.


You raise an interesting point regarding the interaction of CI with strategy, innovation, entrepreneurship, risk management, ....

One magazine that approaches the blend of disciplines is Strategy & Business published by Booz & Company (independent of Booz Allen Hamilton).

Approaching such a journal as a blend of disciplines is an interesting approach, probably worth a little consideration.

absolutely right, there are a number of potential models we can learn from - I think a mindmap is called for ...


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