Category Archives: Academic publications

New book: Humanitarian Logistics

Fresh from the oven, it arrived today on my desk, Christopher & Tatham‘s new book on “Humanitarian Logistics: Meeting the challenge of preparing for and responding to disasters“. It collects important insights from practitioners as well as academics. A wonderful read.

Recently, another book came out as well, Pamela Steele‘s “Humanitarian Logistics: A career for women“. It is a mosaic of inspiring stories of humanitarian logisticians, mostly from the field – and complements the academic view rather well.

The next related book (called “Relief Supply Chain for Disasters: Humanitarian, aid and emergency logistics“) is on its way, coming out in May and in that coinciding with the first number of the Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management.  Stay tuned :-)


Anniversaries – getting old, riping, or setting the agenda?

People tend to see birthdays as an excuse to dwell over the meaning(lessness) of life, age, or experience. Funny that we rarely see the age of people the same way we see e.g. reserve wine, cured cheese, antique furniture, relicts, glaciers… Journals, on the other hand – can be outdated, change direction and name (who recalls titles such as the Journal of Purchasing, Integrated Manufacturing Systems, or the International Journal of Physical Distribution and Materials Management?) – or continue to set the agenda. Funnily enough, IJPDLM’s 40th anniversary issue is more of an outlook to the future than a recall of history. IJOPM did not celebrate its 30th this year, nor JOM last year, though who knows, there may be a celebration of “30 years of SCM” in 2012, marking the anniversary of Oliver and Webber coining the term (allegedly in 1982 though I am yet to come across the original). Or then enter SCM 2.0, at least according to Christopher and Holweg (2011), and with that, enter an embracing of volatility and turbulence, and a move from dynamic to structural flexibility. Setting the agenda, as always.


International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management in ISI

Another logistics / SCM journal made it into the ISI: The International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management. This was the message from Thomson Reuters:

I am happy to inform you that the International Journal of Physical
> Distribution & Logistics Management has been selected for coverage in
> our products Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences (CC/S&BS)
> and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI).

We are happy, too :-)


PS Now it is just time to wait for the actual rates and ranks of all the logistics journals that got in recently.

Co-authoring articles – Vancouver protocol

Talking about co-authoring is a bit like opening Pandora’s box. Approaches differ largely across universities and countries. Yet there are actually international agreements determining who should be named as an author vs. who should be thanked in acknowledgements (only). Even the order of authors has been regulated. Here’s a link to the “Vancouver protocol” on the matter, and the text in brief:

“The Vancouver Protocols state that in order to be credited as an author, each and every author on a publication needs to have been involved in the:
1.  Conception and design, or analysis and interpretation of data
2.  Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content
3.  Final approval of the version to be published.”

Note all the AND-s in the requirements.

So why bother? Statistics on the matter show an increase in domestic and international co-authoring, thus the topic should be of rising interest.

Trends in the co-operation in science, 1985-2007

For this and more see the OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2009.


Don’t drink and drive

Accident Analysis and Prevention just published a special issue on alcohol, drugs, and driving. Not surprisingly, the essence of the message is “don’t drink and drive – NOR smoke and fly”. Not even as a witch, after all, Halloween is over.


Ig Nobel prize in transportation

Nobel prize laureates are scarce in our discipline – the only fame to the claim being Oliver Williamson’s article in the  Journal of Supply Chain Management. But at least the Ig Nobel prizes have discovered the discipline. And the award goes to… Tero et al. (2010) for “Rules for biologically inspired adaptive network design” aka the use of slime mould for rail network design. Congrats to Atsushi Tero, Seiji Takagi, Tetsu Saigusa, Kentaro Ito, Dan P. Bebber, Mark D. Fricker, Kenji Yumiki, Ryo Kobayashi & Toshiyuki Nakagaki!


PS. The Ig Nobel prize in physics isn’t too bad from a Finnish perspective: it demonstrates that socks worn over shoes stop you slipping on ice :-)

Research in social networks

Some social networks have started out with a purpose to link professionals and track their links – now they are back to this purpose. Students have for a long time posted surveys on blogs but also facebook pages. Now researchers have come to embrace social networks to disseminate their output – which itself can take the form of classical articles (“fresh from the oven, who wants a copy”), books or, perhaps more suitable for this purpose, webinars. (Here is a book on “Humanitarian Logistics – a Career for Women“, spotted through the Linkedin WISE platform, and a webinar on “SMART service supply chains“.) Conferences have their own facebook sites (e.g. CSCMP) and even journals and groups of journals (e.g. the Elsevier transportation facebook page). More seriously, here is a link to a book on social network analysis methods, and ironically, a network for social network analysis. And why not, there are even social networks dedicated to research


PS. The movie “the social network” should also be out by now.

The impact of open access

Who said open access journals were of worse quality? The broad disciplines of SCM research, social sciences and engineering might not have embraced “gold” open access (through the journal itself) but articles can often be found online anyway – see Björk et al. (2010). The impact is astonishing: not only are open access articles downloaded quicker and more frequently, but they are also cited more. When it comes to the article that published the research on the matter, it has already been downloaded over 6,000 times in the first three months of its publication, and quoted in Nature and Science, including a podcast. Furthermore, most interestingly, PLoS One, the open access journal it was published in, received an ISI impact factor of 4.3 after just 4 years of publication. If this isn’t dream impact, what is?


PS. Thanks to Bo-Christer Björk for this discussion over lunch.

The theoretical underpinnings of SCM

LRN 2010 was a nice example of a bunch of very practice-driven papers and went to show that insisting on empirical evidence raises the level of a conference. No matter which comes first (theory or practice, hen or egg, truck or snake*), the sophistication of the field requires yet another beast to be tackled as well: solid theoretical underpinnings of SCM research. Upon some earlier posts and a series of theory-driven special issues (particularly many of which were published in the Journal of Supply Chain Management), it is finally time for this trend to hit articles submitted to journals. References to the better JSCM articles certainly help, looking beyond the boundaries of our discipline to the origins of some theories is the next step. Here is a link to a recent debate in marketing on what is theory – and some useful slides to that.


*Referring to the infamous “truck or snake-dilemma” on whether one prefers to be hit by a non-lit truck or bitten by a snake when walking at night on a street in West Africa. Choose your sleeping place wisely.

SCM: combining functions or processes?

Not “strategy as practice” but “SCM as practice”, just how does practice see SCM? Rossetti and Dooley (2010) came to the conclusion that SCM is not just a combination of three amigos (or “functions”, “functional silos”) but that practice sees it more from the perspective of process improvement – suggesting an intersectionist perspective between any of the amigos and SCM. But the article also goes to show that companies need to be quite explicit in their job requirements from a “supply chain manager” as long as there is no one definition and understanding of SCM.