New SpringerOpen Journal, International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility

SpringerOpen is proud to announce the launch of the International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility (known as JCSR), in cooperation with the Cologne Business School. To mark this occasion, we caught up with the Editors-in-Chief of the journal, Samuel O. Idowu and René Schmidpeter, so they could tell us more about JCSR and give us their views on open access.

Tell us a little about the journal

The JCSR is a brainchild of the CSR, Sustainability, Ethics and Governance Book series published by one of Springer’s Senior Publishing Editors for Business & Economics and edited by the two of us with some financial support from Cologne Business School (CBS), where René works. We conceived the idea for the journal a few years ago, Cologne Business Schoolbut like many things in life it did not happen then because the time was not ripe for it. The JCSR is a management journal integrating the dimensions of sustainability, ethics and governance and thus pioneering a new management paradigm in academia and business schools. With support from CSR scholars worldwide, the JCSR hopes to make the greatest impact possible globally in the thriving field of CSR and all its related areas.

Samuel O. Idowu
Samuel O. Idowu

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Despite the fact that there is still no globally accepted definition, there is a general consensus and understanding that CSR is about finding solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges that could hold us back in meeting the needs of current and future generations. It is basically about everyone, both corporate and individual citizens of the world, behaving responsibly in all areas of human existence. Since the inception of the field of CSR, two models of CSR have come to the fore. The old model described CSR as a mere “compliance and philanthropic approach,” and the new model refers to CSR as a “proactive management approach.” Briefly, the old discussion on the field focused on four areas which scholars have noted as defensive, charitable, promotional and strategic dimensions of what organisations do. The new discussion on innovative CSR is described by scholars as transformative or systemic or radical perspective of CSR—it is concerned with the value-adding dimension of CSR to all stakeholders.

Why is CSR such a “hot topic” at the moment?

René Schmidpeter
René Schmidpeter

CSR is a “hot topic” presently because it has become glaringly clear to everyone that our world will not survive if we continue to operate and behave as we did some forty or so years ago. Look at the problems that have been identified as having evolved because of our irresponsible behaviors: climate change and global warming, the rate of depletion in many of our non-renewable natural resources, human rights abuses, even let us pause to think of the devastating adverse impacts on everyone of the last global financial crisis. These are a few examples of why there need to be a big change in how we operate and function; CSR is the modern vehicle we need to use in order to bring about some sensibility and sustainability to many of the things we do and how we go about doing them.

What made you interested in running an open access journal?

Our world continues to be dynamic and many things we do change every day. Everyone is aware that for us to continue to do what we did yesterday will guarantee that we will get what we got yesterday. If what we got yesterday was excellent, then the need to worry about changing things will not arise. But what we got yesterday did not meet our needs. It brought about a number of unsustainable social, economic and environmental problems; hence the need for change was compelling. Open access journals have many benefits that the old traditional journal formats lack. Furthermore, we now live in an age of advanced information technology, where many things are done “on the go”—whether you are on the train to wherever, on a bus, in the air, lying down in bed, you can do many things if you are in possession of the right gadgets. An open access journal allows us to reach our readers wherever they are in the world at any point in time. Being free to readers is also a big advantage that cannot be quantified in financial terms.

How do you see open access developing in your field and what challenges to you see ahead?

We believe that all journals worldwide will adopt this system, as it is an innovative way of disseminating research findings and other scholarly information. Therefore, those journals that fail to adopt the open access system will not survive—that’s our view. Having said this, the idea of charging authors for accepted papers remains controversial, although is necessary to ensure that the journal will be cost effective. Scholars based in developing countries may be concerned that the costs of publishing open access are prohibitively high. But SpringerOpen has actually been forward looking and socially responsible in this regard—a full fee waiver programme is available for authors submitting from low- or lower-middle-income countries, as defined by the World Bank. The full list is available here: In addition to this, through the SpringerOpen membership programme, CBS has set up limited supporting funds for authors who submit excellent papers but do not have the institutional financial support themselves, even though they are based in countries not on the list above: it’s a win–win situation for everyone. We hope that everyone will take advantage of this very innovative system to achieve academic excellence and also to support academia with resources needed.

Finally, what might be your response to open access skeptics?

The open access system should be embraced by all. It is a better alternative to what we had before. It is good for the environment, it is good for researchers and readers of these journals, and above all it is good for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030. In time, skeptics will see all these benefits of the system and embrace it.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to say a few things about this our new journal.

The first articles published by International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility can be viewed here:

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