“Open Access can eliminate the inequalities among scholars across countries” — An interview with Candace Jones

“Open Access can eliminate the inequalities among scholars across countries” — An interview with Candace Jones

Deeptanshu D
Deeptanshu D

In the growing bandwagon of Typeset’s interview series on Connecting Authors, Researchers and Publishers, recently, we were joined by Candace Jones, Chair of Global Creative Enterprise at University of Edinburgh Business School.

Just to make you familiar with her works, she has been the joint recipient of an award grant of $797,529 from the Danish Council for Independent Research. Additionally, she has organized and co-convened the Creative Industries sub-theme at EGOS (European Group of Organization Studies). Her works have been recognized and acclaimed worldwide with many referring her works for further studies.

With us, she talked about her starting days as scholar followed by her journey as researcher and then, professor.

1. Despite having a PHD in Business Administration, your research and publications have been continuously focussed over creative industries, including film, music, architects and architecture.
Could you share with our readers how the transcendence happened?

I had not planned to be an academic. However, when I was getting my Masters in Business, a Professor suggested that since I have an inner trait to bring new ideas and process those conceptually, that I should get a PhD.

Others recognizing my talents, their willingness to help, and investing their passion in my topic have shaped my scholarly journey. People recognize your passion and become engaged by it.

2. Throughout your academic career, you went on different positions and contributed at different institutions. How have they shaped you?

Each role from Assistant Professor to Associate and then to Senior, has different responsibilities and challenges that hone different skill sets. When I was a Junior scholar, I was learning to teach and engage students. Simultaneously, I was also trying to figure out and understand the fundamentals of crafting scholarly articles--both at the same time, which can be very challenging. As an Associate Professor, my role shifted to manage and support existing academic programs. I also started engaging with key professional groups to support professionals programs and my personal networks.

As a  Professor now, I am mentoring my junior colleagues, creating new courses, a new MSc academic program within a University, creating a new professional group with a specific conference, interacting with leaders and administrators of organizations both for teaching and research,  and still publishing. It is very busy!

3. So learning, sharing and repeating has been the skill-sets that has kept you overhauling to greater heights.
However, is there a particular skillset that has significantly contributed to your success?

Success is comparative. I am more successful than some and less successful than others. Each scholar makes decisions about where to spend the limited time and energy, so success depends on whether one is satisfied that they have spent their time and energy in a way that is meaningful to them.

4. Please, share the experience of your first journal article. What were the challenges you faced due to the lack of technology, and how did you manage to break through?

The challenge of my first journal article was marrying two literatures that had distinct and somewhat antagonistic audiences--economists and sociologists--who did not share assumptions. Thus, writing so both would recognize the article in the Academy of Management Review was very challenging. Today, it still speaks more to economists than sociologists.

I do not see technology and the change in technology as a major factor in challenges for the article.

5.  It’s good to find out that you never allowed any lack of technology to come in the way of your research.
Can you tell us about your latest work? What spurred you or got you interested in the same?

My current research started with an observation when I was interviewed for my Full Professorship: "How did Edinburgh become a festival city?" My Dean said, great question, go research it. Since then, I have been researching on festivals and Edinburgh for a few years now, collecting archival data, reading histories, interviewing festival directors, and working on projects with festival personnel.

6. It appears your inquisitiveness runs deep and the passion to find out the answers runs even deeper.

So, how do you think your current research over festival cities and its relevance with Edinburgh can make a substantial impact?

My research has current application to the real-world. Because of my research interest, festival organizers has approached me to do reports on their festival programs, I have my students doing projects on challenges that festivals face and festival personnel engage with the students and use their reports in their work, and my academic articles are requested by festival personnel to read.

7. Your article have always been in demand among readers and you carry long list of publications and a larger set of followers.

After authoring and working in this domain for such long years, how do you interpret the changes that have happened in this academic world?

Academia has become increasingly global which means that many, many scholars are trying to publish in the most recognized journals. This means that these journals not only have a lot more submissions, but scholars have a lot more reviews to do. The increased number of submissions means that a well-crafted first submission is more important than ever in order to get a revise and resubmit.

8. There has been a growing buzz for open access and open source projects nowadays. What are your views on Open Access Journals?

Open access is becoming more and more important both because most research is publicly funded and thus should be accessible to all. Moreover, it helps address inequalities of scholars across countries--many scholars or their institutions cannot afford the licenses for access to scholarly journals.

9. You have guided a large set of students and scholars till now. What are the general mistakes that you observe authors, very often, make?

Authors, very often, try to talk to, too many different audiences and do not have a clear idea or theme that guides their research paper. Any research project has multiple papers so which idea do you wish to explore in this paper and to whom do you want to engage with that idea are the real aspects that authors must focus. Unfortunately, early career researchers very often do the opposite.

10. What advice would you give to early-career researchers to avoid common mistakes while writing research papers?
What tech platforms do you generally refer to, use or suggest to fellow authors and new scholars for writing journal articles?

My key advice is to keep in mind the four to six academics that you want to engage with in writing your paper citing — their research, envision them sitting around the table and having a conversation with you. Junior scholars too often try to speak to everyone and end of being confusing, not being seen as making a contribution and thus speaking to no one.

I see technology platforms important for research in terms of identifying new and key articles through literature searches or alerts from various journals. Research writing platforms  can also help in disseminating research to others both through journals & through other resources that compile research.