“10” Tips for Getting Published in the Top Entrepreneurship Journals – by Mike Wright and Alain Fayolle

Hiker on top of mountainLeading researchers in the field of entrepreneurship, Alain Fayolle and Mike Wright are closely familiar as authors and editors with publishing in entrepreneurship journals. Their most recent book, How to Get Published in the Best Entrepreneurship Journals, brings together a stellar team to provide invaluable insights into successfully negotiating the review process.


Entrepreneurship research now appears in the best journals in management and some entrepreneurship scholars have a worldwide reputation in social and human sciences. However, from our experience in organizing conferences and reviewing and editing articles, many researchers still need to improve their ability and skills in top-level research and writing. In a ‘publish or perish’ era, entrepreneurship researchers need to know how to get published in the best entrepreneurship journals and also in the best journals in management, finance, economics, etc. These thoughts led us to bring together a team of leading researchers to provide some useful practical insights into how to get published in the best entrepreneurship journals.

  1. Crucial positioning and signaling [conceptual] contribution

For your paper to be publishable, positioning it in the literature and signaling its contribution are crucial. Many papers fail to progress as the editor and reviewers effectively don’t get past the Introduction because it is unclear what the author is trying to say, what debates it refers to and what it is adding that is new to that debate. Importantly, for the best journals a paper needs to be consensus challenging rather than merely filling in the pot-holes of a trail that was blazed long ago. Some journals like to see an identification of a research gap that is important to be filled, other journals look for papers to be addressing an important problem faced by entrepreneurs that has yet to be tackled but where existing concepts can be brought to bear and extended.

  1. Read the journal, cite papers on topic as authors may be reviewers

Journals are submerged in submissions these days yet their space to publish papers has not increased. It’s important that you demonstrate that the paper fits the particular journal you choose and is clearly keying into conversations and debates in that journal. It is quite noticeable to editors when a paper has been rejected from another journal and sent to their journal with no attempt to integrate it. Citing papers on our topic by authors who may be reviewers, particularly if they have published in your target journal, shows that you are up to speed with the literature and avoids unnecessarily antagonizing reviewers who may be offended that you have omitted them!

  1. Close attention to structure

It is important that the structure of your paper is clear. On one hand it needs to be in line with expectations for the particular journal you are targeting. On the other hand, you need to have a clear “story line” running throughout the paper.

  1. Focus literature review on issues to be covered; justify theory[ies]

Journal articles require you to focus your literature review on the issues to be covered in your paper. You are speaking to an expert audience that is familiar with the topic area. There is neither the space nor the need to provide an overview of the entire topic area. It needs to be clear from your text that the theories and concepts you are adopting and developing are the appropriate ones for your research question.

  1. Over-arching framework upfront => Draw a model diagram

To help the reader navigate what may be a novel and potentially complex argument, it is often useful to provide a diagram of the relationships that you will be developing. This exercise should also help you as the author to check the coherence of your ‘story line’. If you have great difficulty in drawing such a diagram or it looks like the map of the Paris Metro, you may need to go back and rethink what you are trying to convey.

  1. Theory to develop hypotheses not previous empirical studies

In developing the arguments leading up to hypotheses, it is important to draw on the theoretical framework that you have established at the beginning. The problem in using previous empirical studies to support your arguments is that it begs the question of “what’s new?” if earlier studies have already examined these relationships.

  1. Avoid replicative and uninteresting hypotheses; Use controls

In writing an article for the best journals it is important that you convey that you’re developing novel insights. While some would point to the importance of replication in scientific research, this alone is unlikely to get you into the best journals. The key is to focus on a coherent set of hypotheses that provides insights into new relationships and to recognize other aspects through the use of control variables.

  1. Comprehensive explanation, justification of data, connect to theory, ‘industry standard’ methods

Authors need to demonstrate to reviewers and editors that their data is appropriate and robust in relation to the research questions and hypotheses, and that the analysis has been carried out to the standard and using the techniques that would be currently expected in the field.

  1. Economic as well as statistical significance

The best journals now expect authors to provide details on the economic significance of their findings, not just the statistical significance. The reason is that while statistically significant relationships may be identified, the size of the coefficients may be so small that for a given percentage change in the variable to which it relates there may be an imperceptible change in the dependent variable.

  1. Identify limitations but don’t commit suicide

It is important to recognize that there are limitations to your study. No paper is perfect. But this needs to be done in a way that doesn’t undermine the entire basis of what you have done, but anticipates potential comments from reviewers. You need to show that you recognize potential problem areas and have sought to address them, and also areas of concern that may be raised but which are outside the scope of your study and which offer opportunities for further research.

…..And because reviewers and editors always seem to ask for something more when you’re done:

  1. …..Do what you say you’ll do and don’t spring surprises

It is not that unusual for a reviewer or editor to get to the end of a paper and to get the impression that the author has not answered the questions they promised to do in the Introduction. It is a good idea to expend effort in explaining explicitly in the discussion or concluding section what you have found in relation to your questions. If you find that difficult to do, it may mean that you have drifted away from what you initially set out to do and that some reworking is needed. Relatedly, authors sometimes introduce material late on in the paper that has not been reflected in the initial research questions or hypotheses. In some cases this is extraneous material that may need to be cut [and saved for another article?], or an explanation provided for its inclusion. For example, the material may be relevant to try and explain unexpected results – but at least tell the reader that’s the reason.

Finally, as reviewers are often fond of writing, “Good luck!”.

Mike Wright is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Head of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at Imperial College Business School, Director of the Centre for Management Buyout Research, which he founded in 1986, Associate Director of the Entrepreneurship Research Centre and a visiting professor at the University of Ghent. He is currently co-editor of Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and was formerly co-editor of Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice and has published over 50 books and more than 400 articles in leading international journals. He is a Past Chair of the Academy of Management Entrepreneurship Division and a recipient of that division’s Mentor Award.

Alain Fayolle is a Professor of Entrepreneurship, the founder and director of the Entrepreneurship Research Centre at EM Lyon Business School, France. His research interests cover a range of topics in the field of entrepreneurship. He has been (or still is) acting as an expert for different governments and international institutions (OECD, EC). Alain has published twenty-five books and over one hundred articles in leading international and French-speaking journals. Among his editorial positions, he is notably an Associate Editor of JSBM and an Editor of two leading French-speaking journals. In 2013, Alain Fayolle received the 2013 European Entrepreneurship Education Award and has been elected officer of the Academy of Management Entrepreneurship Division (a five year commitment culminating with position as Chair of Division in 2016). 

'How To Get Published In The Best Entrepreneurship Journals' book cover









Also available as an eBook for subscribing libraries on elgaronline

Related Article:

How to get published in the best entrepreneurship journals – foreword by Danny Miller 

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  1. “10” Tips for Getting Published in ... - February 11, 2014

    […] Leading researchers in the field of entrepreneurship, Alain Fayolle and Mike Wright are closely familiar as authors and editors with publishing in entrepreneurship journals. Their most recent book, How to Get Published in the …  […]

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