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The Importance of Scholarly Research in Business, Economics, and Finance

A series of blog posts from Palgrave Macmillan editors about the necessity of academic research in the Business, Economics, and Finance fields

Rachel Sangster, Publisher Economics & Global Head of Economics & Finance

As the commissioning publisher at Palgrave for scholarly Economics this is, to my mind, a straightforward question to answer: progress. Publishing academic research under a peer-reviewed system (such as the Palgrave book programme) validates the work, offers an opportunity to improve the work by alerting the author to mistakes or shortcomings, and makes the research available to a significantly wider audience than that of the original research group or author's colleagues. Sharing new knowledge is important in order for individuals, firms, governments, countries – society – to advance.

Published research therefore adds to the scholarly record, and contributes to the academic debate – it forms part of an ongoing conversation in the field. By following trends and referring to previously published work, economists can predict responses to market changes, and explore these changes via new data models and analysis.

In Economics it is particularly important that research is continually evolving and widely disseminated. In an increasingly connected world that is always changing, scholars depend on building upon existing knowledge and results. Economics is about making choices, improving efficiency, advising on policies and, avoiding problems that affect the economy and the world at large. It is not just scholars who utilize the research, but practitioners and policymakers in the wider community, for example at research institutes, governmental organisations, business, industry and education.

Economists may often disagree, but they provide a framework for understanding and making sense of an otherwise complex environment. Ultimately, economists are all seeking the same goal. That is: to share resources more fairly and efficiently; to maintain and improve productivity and income; and, enable a happier and healthier society. Publishing research and promoting the exchange of ideas is to advance knowledge and understanding.

Rachel can be contacted at rachel.sangster@palgrave.com.

Liz Barlow, Senior Commissioning Editor, Scholarly Business

To answer the question of why scholarly research is important in Business, Economics and Finance, I wanted to draw on an example of one of the most important areas of research today.

After what seems like decades of irresponsible leadership and business conduct, with profits placed high on a pedestal and little regard to the long term outcomes, business and economies around the world have been left on the brink. Responding to this fundamental need for change in the way organizations are run, sustainability – both in terms of long term business health and in environmental and societal terms - is firmly top of the agenda for business and management research.

The challenge for such research is well acknowledged; every practitioner knows that they should be more responsible, what’s more is they probably also know why it’s important. We might naturally ask therefore, how can this seed of knowledge be encouraged and engaged in before being converted to practice and implemented successfully? The answer starts and ends with scholarly research.

There is some wonderful, pioneering work being carried out on this topic as we speak; research that goes beyond the usual and much repeated theories of responsible management; indeed research that not so much prods but explodes the status quo of traditional business functions and models – from the supply chain to organizational design, branding to innovation. By completely re-thinking the way that organizations are run scholars are proposing some ground-breaking ideas backed up by qualitative and quantitative data. Importantly, these are ideas that exist because of the commitment to funding and the value that is placed in such areas.

For me scholarly research goes beyond citations and impact factors. Topics such as sustainability should be (and are being) actively supported by funders as a priority and communicated by Policy Makers around the world. It can directly affect change and transformation in our economies and more importantly, set a precedent for best practice to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Liz can be contacted at liz.barlow@palgrave.com.

Laura Pacey, Commissioning Editor, Economics

It is said that money makes the world go round, but it is research and knowledge that enables innovation and application for wider benefit. The study of economics is both multi– and interdisciplinary, connecting all social, cultural, financial, environmental and political issues impacting the world.

Following the 2008 financial crisis economists were under attack – how could they not have foreseen such a crisis and prevented it? If you look at any research field, such as medicine, there will always be epidemics and then breakthroughs that improve quality of care and life. Continued research in Business, Economics and Finance remains crucial to determine how we can use the world’s scarce resources efficiently.

Research is the key to greater understanding and the foundation for all real change. Working on the Economics list for Palgrave Macmillan in many ways keeps me aware of the challenges of our time and titles such as Edward Barbier’s Nature and Wealth, which puts forward an argument to overcome an imbalance of assets, tackle poverty in developing countries and create a sustainable future, really demonstrate the need for this kind of research.

Scholarly responses to current events are important in making informed judgments at both a private and public level. Ali M. El-Agraa’s book The European Union Illuminated marries economic theory, political economy, statistical analysis and institutional economics to make sense of the political compromises the EU has had to make and introduce the general reader to an economic perspective on where the EU is headed. In this digital age, there is a wealth of information on practically any topic one can think of; but how can you evaluate sources and know which to trust? Peer review is such an integral part of publishing, ensuring and maintaining a much needed level of quality and rigour in today’s saturated market.

It is for all these reasons that scholarly research is invaluable and we must do all we can to support new research and its dissemination.

Laura can be contacted at laura.pacey@palgrave.com.