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The Official Journal of Africa Business and Entrepreneurship Research Society

Guidelines for Processing and Reviewing Papers

Editor Screening

To be considered in the first place, the papers must meet seven minimal criteria:

  • They should not have been published elsewhere.
  • They should be the sole work of the authors, not plagiarised.
  • Authors should have paid submission fees in advance.
  • They should be relevant to the interests and subject areas of the journal.
  • They should conform to the approved formatting, presentation, and world length of the journal, and must be of a good standard of academic English.
  • The research should be ethical.
  • The research should meet acceptable academic research standards.

The Editor will make an initial evaluation based on these criteria and if found acceptable under these criteria, the paper will be sent to two referees for blind review.

Relevance Criteria

Any area of research relevant to entrepreneurship and business in Africa will be considered as relevant:

  • Entrepreneurship and micro and small businesses
  • How entrepreneurship operates in large company settings (e.g. corporate entrepreneurship and corporate venturing)
  • Large scale habitual, serial and portfolio entrepreneurship
  • Family business renewal and continuity
  • Entrepreneurship and society (e.g. gender and female entrepreneurship; entrepreneurship and poverty alleviation; social entrepreneurship; green entrepreneurship)
  • Entrepreneurship and economic development (e.g. contribution of entrepreneurs of various kinds to economic growth and development; entrepreneurship policy and support; barriers to entrepreneurship; entrepreneurship and governance issues)
  • Entrepreneurship and management interface (with various management areas such as strategic and financial management, marketing, internationalisation, corporate responsibility and finance) BUT papers with a pure management focus will not be deemed relevant.
  • Entrepreneurship and education (not just theory driven academic research but includes reports and evaluation of innovative pilot programmes and techniques of best practice)

Blind Review Process

The referees will review the papers according to the assessment criteria above and the guidelines below.

Selected Paper for Print and Online JABER: One that reports on an outstanding piece of original, significant and rigorous research as defined in the refereeing guidelines. This will be a rating equivalent to a leading international journal with a world reputation.

Selected Paper for Online JABER:  One that reports on a high standard of research but lacks pan African or international significance. Its standards while high, fall short of those of a premier paper.

Not recommended papers

One that is so flawed or poorly presented that it fails to meet minimal standards.

The referees after the first review will recommend one of the following:

  1. Acceptance for publication both in print and online version of JABER, no amendments
  2. Acceptance for publication both in print and online version of JABER with minor revisions
  3. Acceptance for publication both in online version of JABER, no amendments
  4. Acceptance for publication in online version versions of JABER with minor revisions
  5. Resubmission with major revisions, with balance on acceptance
  6. Rejection

On completing the review process the reviewers will write a short commentary explaining why they feel the papers justify their respective rating, which will be published with the full premier and recognised papers, or with the abstract of those that are deemed flawed but of some interest.

Normally only one resubmission of a given article will be accepted, but this will be open to editor discretion.


The papers will be assessed generically on originality, significance and rigour.  The editor is guided by the UK Research Excellence Framework (www.ref.ac.uk) in applying generic definitions of originality, significance and rigour:

Originality refers to the innovative character of the research output. Research outputs which demonstrate originality may: engage with new and/or complex problems; develop innovative research methods, methodologies and analytical techniques; provide new empirical material; and/or advance theory or the analysis of doctrine, policy or practice.

Significance refers to the development of the intellectual agenda of the field and may be theoretical, methodological and/or substantive. Due weight will be given to potential as well as actual significance, especially where the output is very recent.

Rigour refers to the intellectual precision, robustness and appropriateness of the concepts, analyses, theories and methodologies deployed within a research output. It also includes qualities such as the integrity, coherence and consistency of arguments and analysis, and consideration of ethical issues.

Detailed criteria based on these three generic criteria are described as follows:

In assessing a  paper reviewers should look for contribution of important new knowledge, ideas, methods, techniques,  evaluation of policy and practice which will have the potential to make a widespread and lasting influence on the community of  scholars interested in African business and entrepreneurship,.  This may include

  1. Imaginative Theory Led Research (not D): Imaginative originality in developing new approaches, concepts, ideas, techniques and applications. These may be theoretical or draw on rigorous empirical exploratory research. Though based on African business and entrepreneurship research, the paper has significant relevance to the research community beyond Africa.
  2. Discovery Led Empirical Research: Outstanding empirical discovery led research conducted with high standards of rigour designed to enhance understanding of complex socio-economic contexts and problems of Africans in business. Rigorous empirical papers of this type need not be theory driven, or even specifically lead immediately and directly to new theoretical developments. However the new insights and understanding that emerge are of a standard capable of influencing others to rethink their approaches, theories and models. Although grounded empirical discovery led research of this type is expected to be mainly qualitative, including ethnographic, it may also be based on or mixed with exploratory quantitative research such as surveys.  Discovery led longitudinal research is especially welcome.
  3. Methodological Research: Research on developing methods which address problems which present special difficulties to African researchers of business and entrepreneurship. For example these may include translation problems, obtaining adequate random sampling of small businesses; overcoming mistrust of researchers; the influence of the illicit economy and so on.
  4. Cumulative Addition to Existing Models: Building on existing knowledge cumulatively but in an important and significant research area, and conducted in an exceptionally rigorous research design and with intellectual precision.
  5. Major Consortium Research: Reporting on and disseminating findings from a highly significant multi-user or consortium data set in a manner that critically addresses significant issues of African business and entrepreneurship.
  6. Literature Reviews: Conducting a critical review of previous research literature, using the latest rigorous methods of reviewing and analysing literature, which will provide an up to date and useful resource for scholars of the business and entrepreneurship research community. Such reviews will usually not be confined to African literature, but can be used to bring to the attention to African scholar’s research areas which have great potential to enhance the development of African scholarship in the research areas of interest.
  7. Policy and Practitioner Research: Research addressing issues of limited academic theoretical interest, but high generic as well as specific significance to policy makers and practitioners. These may include programme evaluations, policy evaluations, and impact and feasibility studies, policy reviews. To qualify as a premier paper the research must not only have to be conducted at very high standards of rigour, but also be capable of interesting and influencing policy makers and or practitioners across national and regional boundaries.
  8. Programmes and Evaluations: Papers describing and illustrating the development of original educational programmes or courses, or teaching techniques in entrepreneurship, and the problems and solutions experienced in developing and offering these programmes. While evaluation may form an element of the research, it is expected that the concept itself and its promise will be the main focus. The new programme must be capable of being of interest and capable of being potentially adopted in contexts wider than a single African country.
  9. Teaching case studies conducted to a high rigorous standard and of high potential relevance to educators throughout Africa.

The process illustrated in Figure .