If you don’t know, American Marketing Association (AMA) is the biggest association in marketing. They have four major journals, including two of our top four (Journal of Marketing and Journal of Marketing Research). A unique thing about AMA is that they have never retracted a paper at any of their journals. This is surprising given all the problems they have with Dirk Smeesters, Brian Wansink and Ping Dong papers and others.
They have a policy that they share with people who report suspected fraud and with suspected fraudsters. I believe the policy to be very problematic and unacceptable to would-be fraud reporters. Here are my specific complaints relating to the fraud policy:
- It is disingenuous to start out by saying this is your policy for sharing data and information with a fraud reporter when you make it clear in the last paragraph that you do not in fact ever share any information or data with fraud reporters.
- You attempt to silence the fraud reporter while you investigate but you don’t share any information at all with the fraud reporter. Why should they stay silent? Only because they may fear reprisal from the AMA I assume.
- Perhaps most troubling, regarding data sharing, you (a) make it clear that AMA authors are under no obligation to share their data with anyone, and (b) actively discourage authors from doing so. Here is the section I’m referring to: “While third parties are welcome to make direct requests from any author of an article published in an AMA-sponsored journal, these authors are under no obligation to share any information with any third party and they do so at their own risk. The AMA has no responsibility to arbitrate nor protect authors outside of the process described above.”
- Lastly, you do not allow for anonymous fraud reporting. What assurance do you give that the fraud reporter will not face reprisal?
In summary the fraud policy does nothing to protect fraud reporters but instead works to protect only the institution and its published authors. This is not acceptable.
Read the full policy: Link to AMA policy (March 15, 2021).
Aaron Charlton, PhD, MBA is a marketing professional who currently works in industry for Away Clinic and Away PR and lives in Mesa, Arizona, USA. He is formerly an academic and still takes interest in improving the quality of research in the field of marketing.
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