Maintaining a Scholarly Community: Casual Authorship and the State of IR Research



Any field of study must have a core of journals devoted to a literature and a critical mass of scientists interested in a problem area to permit knowledge to accumulate and grow (Crane 1969). Analyzing authors' institutional affiliations and the topics of the articles published in the field's premier journals from 1986 to 1995, this article assesses the vitality of the contemporary industrial relations (IR) publication network. We find that authorship in IR journals is largely casual and that the quantity of publications by Industrial Relations Research Association (IRRA) members in IR journals has declined. In addition, more than half the frequent contributors to IR journals do not belong to the IRRA, and notable differences exist between IRRA members and nonmembers in the substance of their published research. These results lead us to question the survival of IR as a distinct scholarly community.