Publisher Spotlight: The Journal of Management, Spirituality, and Religion Indexed in Atla Religion Database
by Todd Aiello/
May 05, 2022
Though libraries could be filled with texts regarding business and management practices, it is safe to say that twenty years ago, few organizations within the publishing world had considered the ways in which religious practices and spiritual ideologies could influence the ways public, commercial, and not-for-profit organizations operate. However, one veteran of the publishing industry, Professor Yochanan Altman, reflecting on the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and the tumultuous ways in which it was changing our global landscape, realized the value in examining the role religion takes in shaping people’s worldviews and action.
Given his background as the former editor of the Journal of Managerial Psychology, his thoughts then turned to how business and management practices might be affected by this same subject. Fully aware that there was currently no journal tackling this subject from an academic standpoint, he began the process of publishing one himself. Twenty years and seventy-five issues later, Professor Altman and the publication he founded, The Journal of Management, Spirituality, and Religion (JMSR) are at the forefront of how the study of business and management intersects with the humanities and social sciences, particularly in relation to religious practices. Atla staff spoke to Professor Altman about his publication’s history, its scope, and how it has contributed to scholarship.
Once the spark of the idea for JMSR was lit, Dr. Altman was determined to make it a reality in whatever way he could. In August 2002, he brought the idea to the annual meeting of the Academy of Management. While he found support and enthusiasm for the idea there among the Academy’s members, he had less success in garnering interest from the publishers whom he approached. Those who were interested preferred to attach the idea to already existing fields of scholarship, such as business ethics or diversity management, but Professor Altman was convinced that doing so would restrict his freedom to publish the content he was truly interested in and allow the journal to evolve on its own. He chose instead to self-publish. He spent over a year accumulating the content for the first issue, which was published in January of 2004.
...but Professor Altman was convinced that doing so would restrict his freedom to publish the content he was truly interested in and allow the journal to evolve on its own.
After a successful six-year run as a self-published journal, Dr. Altman no longer had any trouble finding a publisher. The journal partnered with Taylor & Francis, in part because of the large number of journals in religious studies they publish. This partnership lasted for ten years before JMSR decided to revert to being self-published, determining that with the changing publishing landscape they could provide all of the services any academic journal publisher would provide. Dr. Altman maintains his role as Publisher, while Professor Kathryn Pavlovich has held the role of Editor-In-Chief for the past five years. The journal also boasts an editorial team spanning four different continents, including contributors from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Hungary, New Zealand, and Israel.
JMSR focuses on business, especially management, and the ways in which it relates to all forms of religion, from the canonical and established doctrinal faiths of the world to newer and emerging religions, as well as new age faiths and spirituality in what could be considered a non-religious sense. The journal aims to draw attention to the importance of religion in relation to issues relevant to the running of economic affairs in public sectors, non-profits, and volunteer organizations. One major goal of the journal is to build a bridge between the study of business and management principles and the humanities, as business scholarship has generally been dominated by focusing on its connections to economics, sociology, psychology, and similar subjects. Dr. Altman noted that three to four years into running the journal, he had a very difficult time finding business scholars who were willing to talk about spirituality in an academic sense. Today, the subject is far more accepted as an academic discipline, in part because the journal showed that there was a market for such material.
One major goal of the journal is to build a bridge between the study of business and management principles and the humanities, as business scholarship has generally been dominated by focusing on its connections to economics, sociology, psychology, and similar subjects.
According to Dr. Altman, the only real criterion for publishing in JMSR is academic rigor. They are not aiming to present particular religious perspectives. This focus is a challenge in comparison to publishing in the sciences that have a clearer standard for evaluation, as given the subject matter of the journal, they must use more qualitative and interpretive methodologies to determine what is rigorous. Each article published is blind reviewed by at least two reviewers under the guidance of the Editor and Associate Editors. There is no doctrinal base for evaluations, and every paper must be judged on its own merits. Most submitters are scholars and academics from business schools, though recently they have made strides in including more religious scholars as well, who specialize in fields such as sociology, psychology, and religious studies. The journal has recently embarked on publishing a series of special issues with guest editors as well as special sections of the journal with their own editors on subjects such as leadership, pilgrimages and tourism, Indigenous religions, and entrepreneurship.
JMSR’s relationship with Atla began while it was still under the umbrella of Routledge/Taylor & Francis, benefitting from that publisher’s already established relationship with Atla. Atla continues to index the full run of the journal from volume 1 in 2004 to the present in Atla Religion Database® (Atla RDB®). They are working on building a more robust social media presence. They have also made strides in making the journal more available through open access. This past year, they partnered with the AITIA Institute in Singapore to make a special issue available through open access and are looking for additional partners to do the same with future issues.
As an independent journal, they have the freedom to experiment and continue to innovate in their field while working with like-minded academic scholars who will help push the journal into new and exciting places.
While the journal continues to grow, the editors are proud to not only have founded the first journal in the field of business management as it relates to religion and spirituality but also to have remained the dominant voice in this field. As an independent journal, they have the freedom to experiment and continue to innovate in their field while working with like-minded academic scholars who will help push the journal into new and exciting places. Atla is pleased to work with independent publishers such as The Journal of Management, Spirituality, and Religion and is excited to see future directions as our partnership continues.
JMSR can be subscribed to through all major subscription agencies as well as directly with the Publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscription permits access to all published content of the past nineteen years. In 2022 there will be five issues, with two already published. Information regarding pricing and access information can be found at the following link: https://www.iamsr.org/journal/.
Enjoying the Atla Blog?
Subscribe to receive email alerts of new blog posts of a specific type. Members, subscribers, publishers, or anyone interested in the study of religion & theology are welcome to sign up to one or all alerts to keep up to date with the Atla community. If you or your institution are a member, the Atla Newsletter delivers a monthly curated email of top posts to your email inbox.