Dr Demetris Vrontis is a professor in marketing and the dean of the School of Business at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus. He joined the university (then Intercollege) in January 2004, initially as head of the Department of Marketing, and then as associate dean and MBA director of the School of Business. Previously (1997-2003) Dr Vrontis was a senior lecturer at the Manchester Metropolitan University Business School (MMUBS).
He holds a PhD in international marketing from that university. His prime research interests are in international marketing, marketing planning, branding, marketing communications and wine marketing. In addition to eight books, he has also published widely in over 50 refereed journal articles, contributed chapters and cases in books/edited books and presented papers to conferences on a global basis. He is also a visiting lecturer for several management schools, including Henley School of Management.
Dr Petros Lois is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Accounting and Banking at the University of Nicosia.
He is a qualified accountant, holds a PhD from Liverpool John Moores University, and specializes in accounting, finance and the cruise industry.
The EuroMed Journal of Business (EMJB) aims to stimulate debate and provide fresh thinking on all sectors and topics in business in the European-Mediterranean region. It was started by academics from the University of Nicosia, then Intercollege, in 2006, and acquired by Emerald in 2007.
You describe your mission as "to continue to establish a platform for debate and facilitate the dissemination of research findings and explore new areas of research, techniques, and conceptual developments relating to any division of the business industry in the European and Mediterranean regions" ("Editorial", EuroMed Journal of Business, Volume 2 Number 1, 2007). You cover all business sectors and disciplines, but with a specific geographical focus. What is it about the region which makes a journal covering it particularly important?
The European-Mediterranean region has experienced rapid market environmental changes over recent years. The challenges and threats to managers and researchers that operate within the region often have distinct differences to those experienced in other geographic areas. EMJB helps generate and share understanding of different business environments and trends in the region, providing readers with an up to the minute overview of emerging business practices.
We deliberately and explicitly related the journal to a specific geographical area, the European-Mediterranean region, as we believed that it was not well represented by academic journals. Unquestionably, there has been a steady growth in the economies of this region over the last few years, and we have therefore created a platform for academics and researchers to express themselves and present their research findings and ideas. The journal therefore seeks to foster collaboration and an open dialogue between different research cultures and practices.
You have been going for two years. Can you say something about the journal’s history?
The whole idea started three years ago when at an informal discussion we decided to launch, at the University of Nicosia Business School, a new business-related journal that was specifically aimed at the European and Mediterranean regions.
We then had to decide on the journal’s name and logo, and, build the editorial team and editorial advisory board (from people with expert knowledge of the region). Then we had to look into the publishing costs and the design of the cover and layout of the journal. We also had to identify sponsors for the first years of running, which we obtained thanks to CYTA (Cyprus Telecommunications Authority). In January 2007, the journal was acquired by Emerald.
You encourage the submission of fresh, modern and unconventional manuscripts, and are looking for new ideas. Can you say a bit more about this, with some examples?
The journal is looking for new ideas, and the submission of fresh and modern manuscripts is essential. This is because the philosophy behind this is to enable readers and especially the business industry to use new ideas and apply modern techniques in the competitive business world. The journal contributes to the business world by developing knowledge and understanding about business trends and challenges.
How has the journal contributed to the theoretical debate?
At EMJB, we mainly publish research papers (mostly empirical, but also some conceptual) that contribute to theory and knowledge. The papers that are accepted for publication encourage further academic debate in the area of business. Some papers are even controversial and present the diverse research findings and beliefs of the authors.
How do you ensure a debate between academe and practice, and how do you maintain the latter’s interest and involvement?
Stimulating and maintaining the industry/practitioners’ interest and involvement is not an easy task. One way to do this is by publishing papers that have practical application to the industry. Practitioners find such papers useful as they can extract from them ideas that they can apply within their own industry or organization.
Our overall objective is to publish a journal that:
What are your future plans for the journal? Do you intend to have special issues for example?
EMJB is the only journal that stimulates and nourishes dialogue between European-Mediterranean researchers and encourages research from this region. It seeks to describe and emphasize both best practice and research, in both developed and developing countries. It helps disseminate awareness of contemporary management developments, trends, and challenges.
Our future plans for the journal are to establish it both regionally and internationally as a high quality, top tier academic journal where researchers can publish their research findings in a scientific way.
How long does it take, ballpark, between submission and publication of an article? Can you describe your process of peer review?
When a paper is submitted it is reviewed by the editorial team and if it fits our goals and criteria, it is automatically sent to two or three external blind reviewers. This process normally takes between three and five months. Then if the paper is accepted it is sent back to the authors for changes and resubmitted back to us. Upon receipt we check that the paper has accommodated the recommended changes and then a final decision is taken. The whole process, from submission to publication, takes between 12-18 months. But this is not fixed as this may vary depending on the comments of the reviewers and the editorial team.
All new journals face a difficulty in encouraging submissions. How do you ensure that the copy well remains full?
Encouraging submissions is easy. Encouraging and attracting quality submissions is indeed difficult. Our aim is to maintain the quality of the journal and reject papers (about 70-80 per cent of the papers submitted are rejected) that do not meet our high demands and criteria. Slowly-slowly as the journal establishes itself, things will eventually get easier for us.
Congratulations on becoming the University of Nicosia! How was this achieved and what are your aspirations for the university? How did it leap so quickly to the top of the league table in Cypriot universities?
Thank you very much. Attaining a university status was not an easy task. It was indeed very challenging and took a lot of time (about three years of hard work). We had visitors coming to our university from universities in Europe and the USA.
Our aspiration is to turn the Business School at the University of Nicosia to a well established and credible academic institution. In doing so, special emphasis is given to research and publications.
We also invest for excellence in teaching and place much value on building links with industry.
You are both Cypriot academics, but you have experienced the British education system. What are the main differences in the academic environment between the two countries?
The history of Cyprus and UK and their close ties mean that the educational system in Cyprus is similar to the one in the UK. The main difference is that we follow the American credit system, however we are currently moving to the European ECTS system. Another difference is that our Bachelors lasts for four years and our Masters is normally competed in two years.
Dr Demetris Vrontis and Dr Petros Lois were interviewed in November 2007.
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