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Regular version of the site

Article

Revealing the Inner Beauty of Academic Research: Lessons from the Beauty and the Beast

Technovation. 2017. Vol. 66-67. P. 1-2.

Beauty and the Beast offers wonderful lessons on how to write research papers with greater impact. The story focuses on three characters - two that are beautiful on the outside (Belle and Gaston) and one who is ugly (the Beast). Belle’s beauty is both on the surface and deep-rooted – something rare. However we gradually see the less apparent (internal) beauty of the Beast and how once that hidden beauty is revealed in the correct manner, the Beast is rapidly be transformed into a Beauty (handsome prince). And then of course since Beauty and the Beast is a fairy tail: the important characters all live happily ever after. Too many authors fail to find and release the inner beauty of their papers. Occasionally an editor or a reviewer will attempt to do so. Sometimes this is successful and the paper is transformed - its newfound beauty drawing large numbers of readers to it. Often the author cannot see the hidden beauty in their work and fails to follow the path to improvement that the editor(s)/reviewer(s) hints at. Once this happens the editor(s)/reviewer(s) give up, because they feel that they were mistaken or that the beauty is present but is too much effort to release. Having offered a picture that is both tragic and dreamy, the surface ugliness that can obscure the beauty inside is explored. For academic theory in technology innovation management (and many other areas of social science): Beauty is Novelty and Generalizability. The Beast is Confirmation of existing knowledge and high specificity or contextual dependence. A paper is a Beast if it only provides: confirmation of what already is known, calls for provision of further evidence, offers insight only into a specific location or a specific technology. A paper that provides novel findings that are widely generalizable is a Beauty. For Doctoral theses it might be sufficient to: pose a question, test it with appropriate method and statistical analysis, and report the results. In fact, Sun and Linton (2014) found this approach to dominate in a group of desk-rejected papers. However, the high impact papers were very different. These papers focused on (a) Literature – setting of context and identifying the gap that needs filling – and (b) Discussion – explaining the contribution. The contribution of a high impact research paper requires more physical space. It is in this part of an article in which the inner Beauty is revealed. The detailed discussion (contribution) of a high impact paper reveals the deep Beauty of the paper ‘s contribution in terms of novelty, generalizability and the associated implications: 1) Novelty 2) Generalizability 3) Implications