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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It is... and you would do everybody a favour by getting it started. For some reason, we seem to have difficulty amongst many in our community at actually doing what we (supposedly) specialize in.
I Agree Michael there is a large world of possible journals for CI articles out there. The big question is if SCIP is going to be in it or outside of it. There is also I think a need for a journal that has CI has its sole focus, maybe together with the field of business intelligence (BI)/Tech side.

I also agree with you that CI is an integrated field, but so is strategy and so is planning. The same way there are no or few pure strategists or planning people there are no or few CI people in organizations. That does not mean it is not a free standing specialization entitled to serious scholarship.

On the issue of an academic journal SCIP has, I think, made its position all too clear - despite Craig's sterling efforts over recent years.

There are pure strategy academics ... and are even conferences for them ... but this still doesn't explain why CI is so clearly absent from the academic map in so many countries - Sweden excluded - which is one further reason why the Atelis/ECIS initiative is so welcome.

I would agree with your observations and, even better, your attempts at data gathering and interpretation (i.e., Academy of Management annual conference sampling and absence of CI in any form of contributions being done there is what I'm specifically referring to). We do not have a critical mass of CI researchers, instructors, scholars, academics, or fill in any related role, and likely never will, unless we can break through our collective inability to build and maintain bridges with other established fields. There is not a single CI department/unit in any top business school (I considered removing the word "top" but it still doesn't likely change the result in any significant manner). I had always wished we could achieve "critical mass" at some place, anyplace -- even in virtual space or networks like ours here at Ning -- and then we might have a chance of making something happen in the larger world of which we seem to like to keep ourselves separate from.

I personally love the Atelis/ECIS initiative. We need more of that, and in more places. We are not even on the radar of critical constituencies who's support we require to achieve broader notice. Until we can "get on their radar," I'm afraid things will be more of the same. Strategically, this means we need to do some of the things they expect us to (i.e., like publishing a respectable journal with respectable papers in it, establishing chairs or research groups at post-secondary institutions, having meetings where new theory and empirical findings can be presented, discussed, debated and improved, etc.), as well as some things that any late-comer or niche player in the marketplace must do to succeed, like outflanking the more established fields in terms of our application of technology to progressing our collective objectives forward.

The only real resources we have to work with at the present time are those of us who care enough to volunteer our time and talents. It is really all we ever had, as SCIP never was able to generate any notable reserves even when times were more "generous" than they are today. Having said that, all the time and talent in the world won't get us where we want to go without champions, leaders, and visionaries, and implementers to help the task move along. I'm afraid the lack of those skill sets in our community is what has kept us/will keep us from making the progress so many of us desire. Is it out there and we just don't know about it as yet???
Well, there are some encouraging signs. This Ning space for one - now with over 800 members - who would have thought?

And the (non-SCIP) 3rd conference coming up in Stockholm, which deserves to succeed, flourish and continue.

And even in academia there is some cause for encouragement (at least at the confluence of study and practice, namely MBA course). I currently teach an occasional MBA mini-elective course at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, and am currently teaching a similar one at Israel's College of Management. I also tutor a CI elective course at Henley Management College (now renamed Henley Business School) - also in their MBA - we're in our 25th course (3 courses a year), with over 30 students each time, from all over the world, studying for a distance-learning MBA. And, as I wrote to Arik, each student now gets to hear of this Ning 'space' very early in each course.

But, you're right of course - there is no critical mass - which is why we need to be pragmatic - and which is why I am so pleased with the reaching out done by the SLA which now positions CI among its eclectic range of subject areas that its members can be exposed to.

Like Moliere's hero who spoke prose without realising it, many people flirt with aspects of CI without realising the fact, and they provide a huge catchment area on which and through which to advance the subject. The seeming 'elitism' and allegedly special nature of CI professionals that SCIP radiates actually narrows its catchment area and excludes those who could be potentially interested, rather than widening it and drawing people in.
Sure would seem the main hurdle in the immediate future is laying out roles, and getting volunteers for those roles.

Michael, I'm not sure what you say about a lack of CI journal content is totally true. When I was doing my MBA thesis i came across lots of articles in multiple journals that covered various aspects of competitive intelligence and analysis. (My MBA thesis looked at ways of analysing competitor rivalry using game theoretical modelling). One key journal i used - accessed prior to joining SCIP - was the Competitive Intelligence Review. This journal was taken by a few of the college libraries I used - and was a reason for my joining SCIP as i felt that it gave SCIP credibility. (I still have all the copies that used to be distributed to members as part of the membership package when it was a fraction of the cost it is now).

The problem since then is that many more people have recognised the importance of understanding competition - judged also by the numbers of books publshed since 1993 when i did my MBA on the subject. SCIP howeer seems not to have moved forward and has seen off two academic journals. Will a third, under SCIP auspices succeed? Only if SCIP changes radically and moves forward in its whole approach to the topic.
Oh dear. Why have I got a heavy laden feeling of déjà vu? Where was all this support for an academic Journal when it was needed? Why did the SCIP members allow its Board, (yes, the Board which is there to represent them), shut down JCIM and renage on service contracts at considerable personal financial and professional cost to those involved, when it had been SCIP who had insisted on them in the first place?

JCIM was (note past tense) the ONLY peer reviewed, blind refereed, academic Journal in the English speaking world, and SCIP closed it down just at the time when it was about to enter its fifth volume and and gain that all-important longevity badge. Of course you can start another Journal but if you think that academics will support it then you are sadly mistaken. You would need an academic to be Editor and they don't come for free either. Those that supposedly are for free, are just taking time from theri employer, or their employer is subsidiising them with teaching relief pr they have endowed chairs with funds which means they can off-set that against their time. Why would a University do that in these cash and resource strapped times? Also, please do not think that this is a job that can be done by just anybody. I know of only one or two non academics who would have the depth of subject knowledge, familiarity with the literature and credibility to be able to pull it off.

It takes an enormous amount of time to obtain articles, read everything for the initial screening, identify suitable skilled reviewers, solicit their (free) help, then if you are lucky to find two who will do it, chase them when they fail to meet deadlines, over and over again. Then prepare feedback for the author, liaise with them on revisions, set deadline dates, chase them over and over again until finally you get the revised submission. Then the whole process starts again as it goes out for re-review. Then, when everybody is happy you have to prepare legally binding publication agreements, preare the pages for publication, attending to formatting, spelling, style and referencing conforms. Oh, and yes, design the pages. Just to be absolutely clear on this. When SCIP published JCIM, the only task that they had to do was to receive the PDFs, which were sent by e-mail by the Editors. All that was then needed was for the articles to be loaded onto the JCIM website - NOTHING MORE. I once had to send a blank page in PDF format so that it could be inserted between two articles!!!!!

All real academic publishers have a raft of page designers, proof-readrs, paper tracking systems, on-line reviewing systems etc etc, all in house, professional, committed and competent. All of this work was done by the JCIM Editors. First Craig, then by me and Roberta Brody for no actual benefit to ourselves. Few will realise that if you publish an article in a Journal where you are the Editor then it "doesn't count" in terms of your publication record. So, why would any academic who is intent on publishing and progressing their career, want to take the job on at all, let alone for free?

The past Editors did the job because they believed in it. They felt that it was the right thing to do and they believed that a CI Journal could make it past that 5 yeaer barrier. We nearly made it and "closure" is all the thanks we got.

If somebody wants to have another stab at a new CI academic Journal, which, (by the way) will take at last 5 years to be accepted), then I beg of you to at least go with a decent publisher who knows what academic publishing is all about and has the mind-set and systems to go with it. I think we are running out of ideas for new names though.
Dear Sheila,

Good to see you on the NING. I like your direct style of handling this question and I share your skepticism, especially in light of how badly the JCIM project was handled. You know probably better than most of us how much work goes into such an activity. I think this is a last call for SCIP to get the attention of a majority of CI academics.

I have been asked to make room for a special session to discuss a new journal project at the ECIS 2009 in one week. As chair of the Scientific Committee I have asked the SCIP Board by email to comment on the possibilities for a joint cooperation for a new CI journal. I hope they will take this chance to get involved.

All the best from a very warm Sweden, Klaus
Hi to everybody,

I was & I am still the editor of the magazine Puzzle ( started as newsletter (just the first numbers) in 2002 and became a magazine with double blind review later on. I say magazine because it is a mix between magazine and a journal.

My experience says that is very hard to get good articles. Indeed, the policy of Puzzle was to not accept no original and commercial articles. Sheila and Craig have enough experience to let you know how difficult is trying to have good job done!

I think therefore that producing a good journal is very hard. There are several factors. First of all the CI community is very small and there is no a critical mass for getting good scholars articles. On the other hand scholars do not see CI as an interesting topic and therefore they will opt to write other kind or articles before spending time into CI. This makes much smaller the group of scholars. If you then consider that English is not the only language then the group becomes much smaller.

In the past there have been several initiatives and all of them have been fighting with some problem. I see some constrains for the journal:

a) the Journal should be multilingual
b) should be open to other complementary topics
c) digital (less expensive)
d) No fix numbers per year. I mean that when it has 4-5 good article it will be published
e) Grate group of compromised individuals who help the editor/s to push forward the journal’s contents

Good luck!

Outstanding perspective, Sheila. One wonders when the "Peer Review" process will turn the technology corner, but till that day the hurdles you identify will continue.

I had a sneaking feeling that the challenges weren't being fully captured in the dialog. There is still the possibility that a good popular (non-SCIP) journal would be good for the profession, even if it wouldn't have the status of peer-review.

Are there other disciplinary journals where aspects of CI might fit? Financial profiling, for example, might fit under some of the financial journals. I originally encountered Michael Porter in a doctoral Industrial Organization class (competitition, monopoly, and antitrust economics) with a discussion of 5 forces from the perspective of an economic study of competitive forces.

In any case, I appreciate your review of the history of this issue, and of the special problems that would have to be solved.

Hearing how difficult it is to create a peer review, academic-grade journal I think it's worthwhile to ask a question that seems to be taken as an article of faith here on Ning: does an academic journal pass the cost-benefit analysis test? Which stakeholders benefit and in what ways?

I'm sure some will choose to categorize me as anti-intellectual when I say that I never really saw the benefit of JCIM and its predecessors. This is not to denigrate the hard work of volunteer editors and publishers. In my current role as a practitioner (and previous role as vendor) I simply need someone to explain the value of an academic journal to me. The benefit seems so confined to one set of stakeholders that I don't and never did see it.


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