Signaling effects of scholarly profiles – The editorial teams of North American accounting association journals
Abstract This paper provides a longitudinal analysis of the editorial teams of Contemporary Accounting Research (CAR) and The Accounting Review (TAR) with regard to the subject areas and research methods as well as the doctoral degree schools represented by their members. From a signaling theory perspective, we consider the scholarly profiles of the editorial team members a powerful signal that the journals send to the academic community concerning the types of research preferred for publication. Accordingly, we first develop a signaling theory framework and introduce it to the sociology of accounting research literature, emphasizing the editorial team composition as a crucial aspect of the communication between senior editors and scholars intending to submit their manuscripts. Second, we compile scholarly profiles of 1564 CAR and TAR senior editors, editors and editorial board members serving within a 25-year time frame based on 10,200 papers (co-)authored by them. We then examine whether the papers published in CAR and TAR reflect the subject areas and research methods represented by the editorial teams. Our findings suggest that the two journals send distinctive signals toward the academic accounting community, particularly with regard to “acceptable” research methods. More precisely, CAR signals greater openness compared to TAR. Moreover, our results indicate that the journal publications reflect the scholarly profiles of the editorial teams with regard to research methods but not subject areas. We discuss the consequences of our findings for the further production and dissemination of accounting knowledge. Highlights We develop a signaling theory framework to analyze the TAR and CAR editorial teams. Building on 10,200 papers, we establish profiles of 1564 editorial team members. The journals send distinctive signals regarding ‘acceptable’ research approaches. We discuss consequences for the future development of the accounting academe.
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