Editorial: The coming out of accounting research specialisms

James Guthrie, Lee Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The paper seeks to explore the ongoing development of an array of interdisciplinary specialist research areas in the accounting research community and its literature. It sets out to explore developments over the last 25 years with the aim to identify a number of important trends for the accounting scholarly community and to consider the role of AAAJ and various interdisciplinary accounting conferences and other journals. Design/methodology/approach – This paper employs a literature-based analysis, critique and argument. The paper's scope includes the trend towards specialisation by interdisciplinary accounting scholars in a contemporary context, where mainstream technical accounting research has privileged positivist research. Findings – In sharp contrast with the successful emergence of interdisciplinary research in the 1980s, a trend towards at least a proportion of specialist research groupings is now seen, such as accounting historians, opting to retreat behind closed doors. Some researchers are increasingly exhibiting a trend towards seeking their own company focusing on attending only their specialised conferences, and publishing their work in their special interest journal. This carries a risk of retreating from engagement with the broader and particularly interdisciplinary accounting research community outside their own specialised confines. This could lead to fragmentation and fellow specialist researchers are invited to return to “the coming-out parade” and re-engage with the wider scholarly community. Research limitations/implications – Accounting scholars not only need to engage with their interdisciplinary specialised research areas, but also should connect with the wider scholarly community in order to maintain the pursuit of significant contribution to knowledge. Practical implications – The paper focuses on personal values of accounting academic scholars as well as the importance of specialised and more generalised interdisciplinary research scholarly groups. Originality/value – The paper alerts researchers to significant issues associated with the retreat into specialised groups and scholarly activities. It offers a practical illustration of a 25-year history of accounting history research and calls for the coming-out of accounting scholars from specialist groups to an engagement with the broader accounting interdisciplinary research community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Accounting history
  • Community development
  • Research


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