Bootcamp Preparation for the Research Frontier

The 8th ACE research paper development conference, held December 18-20 at Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island, , was deemed by all participants to be a great success. Affectionately known as ‘Bootcamp’ this event puts young (and some not-so-young) researchers through rigorous training by their colleagues and several highly-experienced journal editors and reviewers. I was one of a half dozen non-QUT researchers graciously allowed to participate – this may seem particularly gracious since I now work at Griffith across the river from QUT. But as Per Davidsson and I have previously agreed, we may compete for students but in research we can collaborate very effectively and a “rising tide lifts all the boats”.

Indeed that might have been the unofficial theme of the Bootcamp this year, as in previous years. Each person submitting a paper for review undertook to provide journal quality reviews for three other submitted papers. Thus each paper received three very thoughtful and constructive written reviews on their own paper, plus a round-table discussion of the research paper potentially attended by others as well as the formal reviewers. The purpose of this process is to refine the research papers such that they might save at least one round in the multi-round journal reviewing process. By uncovering perceived impediments to publication, authors are able to strengthen their arguments; correct methodological or other errors; be alerted to overlooked prior research, and generally polish the paper before submission to a refereed journal, raising the probability of a favourable outcome.

Unlike journal reviews which are ‘double-blind’, at the Bootcamp the author and the reviewers are known to each other, such that colleagues effectively contribute to each other’s papers, each with the general understanding that no matter how valuable their contribution, no co-authorships will be offered or taken as a result. This is selfless work, but nonetheless delivers valuable benefits to the reviewers as well as the authors – reviewers gain new insights into research issues that may be tangential to their own research areas, and identify other researchers and their interests with a view to collaboration on future research projects.

The celebrity visitors this year were Dev Jennings and Jennifer Jennings from the University of Alberta – each one is currently a Field Editor for the Journal of Business Venturing (JBV), as is Per Davidsson. In addition, Dev is a founding editor of Strategic Organization and an incoming editor of Administrative Science Quarterly. Dean Shepherd, the Chief Editor of JBV, is now a regular at these Bootcamps since becoming an Adjunct Professor at QUT. Each of the three invited celebrity authors and editors shared their wisdom in key note addresses to the assembled. Thus, adding Per we had the benefit of the knowledge and experience of four very high-powered editors from the field’s top journal.  This was a rare opportunity that I think happens nowhere else in the world – well, at least I was not invited!

The social side was also excellent, including good food and wine at dinners, feeding the dolphins, an excursion around the island, and plenty of chance for ACE members to engage with each other and the visiting academics from other Universities in a relaxed and collegial atmosphere. There was some pool played, which Per seemed to win a lot, not surprising perhaps as only he knows the rules! Behind the scenes prior to and throughout the conference was Karen, the calm and efficient organiser of the whole event. On behalf of the visiting academics at the Bootcamp, I thank especially Karen and Per for this tremendous event and we all look forward to the next one!

Many thanks to Evan Douglas, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Head of Department of Marketing, Griffith Business School for contributing this story.

To submit your expression of interest for the 2013 ACE Bootcamp please enter your details here

If you would like to hear what Gerry George, Harry Sazpienza, Tom Lumpkin and others have to say about the ACE Boot Camp then please view the videos on our ACE homepage