Accepted for Publication

Faculty serving as journal editors advance Marshall’s research reputation

November 03, 2021
Sha Yang headshot
Sha Yang, vice dean for faculty and academic affairs at USC Marshall.

The research profile at the USC Marshall School of Business has increased tremendously over the last 20 years. One measure of Marshall’s advancing reputation is that a substantial number of faculty serve in editorial positions at the top journals in their disciplines. Currently, 11 faculty members representing the Leventhal School of Accounting and four Marshall departments are serving as journal editors or senior editors.

“These are particularly prestigious appointments for the individuals, but they’re also a reflection of the overall quality of the faculty that we have here at Marshall,” said Gareth James, deputy dean, E. Morgan Stanley Chair in Business Administration and professor of data sciences and operations.

The peer-review journal system is, James said, a fundamentally important part of academic research. “Without this editorial system, we have no basis for evaluating the quality of the research,” he said. “When you read something in a respected journal, it’s gone through a peer-review process, and the implication is that experts in the field believe that it’s high quality and meaningful research.”

Faculty who publish consequential research and hold editorial positions at high-impact journals not only boost the research reputation of the school, they also attract more top caliber researchers to USC Marshall.

“Marshall’s research reputation is very useful in helping our recruiting,” said Sha Yang, vice dean for faculty and academic affairs and Ernest Hahn Professor of Marketing. “Elite faculty help attract more elite people in the field, which in turn raises our profile.”

Rankings can also be indirectly impacted by a school’s research profile, James said. “Deans at other schools, if they know we have faculty with particular expertise serving in editorial positions, then they are going to think more highly of our school when they’re considering rankings.”

Editorial positions are considered a service contribution to the academic community and typically unpaid. But the work is invaluable because, as James noted, the whole system relies on journals. “Promotion cases and annual reviews are heavily dependent on journals,” he said. “If your paper is cited a lot, then that’s a suggestion that there’s something important in that work.”

Given the amount of work an editorship can entail, it is not uncommon to see more than one editor share the top position at a journal. That is the case for some of Marshall’s faculty, who not only share the role, but sometimes share it with Marshall colleagues.

“The fact that we currently have a number of faculty in various editorial roles,” James added, “says something good about Marshall.”

Meet the researchers: Questions and Answers with Regina Wittenberg Moerman and Anthony Dukes. 



Q & A with Regina Wittenberg Moerman
Regina Wittenberg Moerman
Professor Regina Wittenberg Moerman

Regina Wittenberg Moerman
Professor of Accounting & Accounting Circle Professor of Business Administration
Senior Editor, Journal of Accounting Research

What is the focus of your research?
My research is dedicated to the study of debt markets. I focus on issues pertaining to information transparency, debt contracting and financial intermediation. Within these relatively broad areas, the key topics I study are 1) the role of a firm’s financial reporting quality and disclosure in debt markets, 2) the role of financial and information intermediaries and credit market innovations in shaping the information environment, 3) the structure of debt agreements and 4) the transparency of banks’ financial reporting. Recently, I also started working in an exciting new area — access to credit in developing economies. We interview traders (wholesalers and retailers) in an informal market (bazaar) in India and explore factors that affect access to trade credit in this market.

Why do these areas excite and inspire you?
Before starting my Ph.D., I had worked for the banking supervision department at the Central Bank, so I have been interested in banking and credit markets for a long time. These research areas may not be traditional for accounting researchers, but they are at the intersection between finance, accounting and economics, which makes them all very interesting to explore.

What are your most important research findings?
While the role of information transparency has long been of interest to accounting researchers, prior literature has examined it mainly within the context of equity markets. My work, however, takes the perspective of debt holders and debt markets and shows that a firm’s financial reporting quality and disclosure have important implications for debt contracting and trading. This line of research dovetails with my other work, which shows that lenders themselves substantially affect the information environment in financial markets.

What has been the impact of your work so far?

I have 19 publications so far, and I have gotten a few awards for my papers. My dissertation, published in the Journal of Accounting Economics, was the winner of the Best Paper Prize for the most innovative paper likely to have the greatest impact on the profession. I have a few papers published in the Journal of Accounting Research that are one of the top 10 or top 25 most-cited or most-downloaded papers in the journal.

My paper on how behavioral biases of loan officers affect their processing of borrower information got substantial interest from practitioners. It has been featured in Bloomberg, MarketWatch and American Banker. My work on how credit default swaps affect managers’ voluntary disclosure has been featured in Columbia Law School’s Blue Sky Blog.

But I think the biggest impact of my work is Ph.D. students. I had (have) students who are excited about exploring debt contracting and banking, and I am happy that my research has inspired them to work in this area.

What was your first experience serving as a journal editor?
I started in 2019 with the Journal of Accounting Research, which is one of the top three journals in accounting. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with being an editor, especially when the paper is written by junior authors.  On the one hand, as an editor, you have to be critical and accept the very best papers to the journal. On the other hand, you need to guide the authors and provide them with an opportunity to improve and advance their research.

What is your current editorship? How do you see the role of the editor in contributing to your field?

I’m still with the Journal of Accounting Research. I think the most important role of editors is encouraging new and challenging research avenues. When you see a paper that can potentially advance research in a new direction, it’s important to convey this message to reviewers: “OK, this is something new. Let's give it the benefit of the doubt. Let’s move our research forward.” So, I would say that focusing on the big picture and helping the authors to advance accounting research is the editors’ greatest responsibility.



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Q & A with Anthony Dukes
Anthony Dukes professor of Marketing, Chair, Dept. of Marketing
Professor of Marketing, Anthony Dukes

Anthony Dukes
Professor of Marketing, Chair, Dept. of Marketing
Senior Editor, Marketing Science

What is the focus of your research?
I am interested in the businesses that connect marketers to consumers: marketing intermediaries. These are retailers, e-commerce platforms, as well as websites that attract advertisers by producing news and commercial content. Any intermediary that creates value to marketers by attracting consumers to their doorstep.

Why does this area excite and inspire you?
These organizations are important to the functioning of a market-based economy because they provide consumers direct access to products, information and entertainment while simultaneously offering businesses a means to reach and serve their markets.

What are your most important research findings?
My research suggests that the large size of marketing intermediaries, like Walmart or Amazon, often enables them to better serve consumers. However, as they grow, it is also important for regulators to ensure they don’t abuse their market power.

What has been the impact of your work so far?
The most rewarding impact of my work is the numerous invitations I receive to advise companies and also present my research at other universities, meet their students and faculty, and learn from other scholars in the field.

What was your first experience serving as a journal editor? How and when did you get started?
I’d been serving as an associate editor at several journals, but this is my first stint as a senior editor.

What is your current editorship? How do you see the role of the editor in contributing to your field?
I am senior editor at Marketing Science, which is the leading academic journal for quantitative research in marketing. I am excited to help advance the discipline by ushering in rigorous and impactful research articles that advance the scientific understanding of the marketing process as well its social and economic consequences.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Being invited to be a senior editor at a journal is an honor for me as it reflects the confidence esteemed members of the discipline have in me. But it is also a humbling responsibility knowing that my decisions on submitted manuscripts can have an impact on scholars’ careers and on the field’s advancement.

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