Farewell to the journal OR Insight
This week the last issue of the journal OR Insight arrived. It carried an editorial which explained:
OR Insight has been the practitioner-oriented journal of the Operational Research Society for many years. It was published in-house up to 2008, but since then it has been professionally produced .... OR Insight’s success continued after this change, leading to it being included in the Journal Ranking List produced by the Association of Business Schools and others.
The primary objective of OR Insight has been to publish articles that are readable, topical, relevant and of interest to managers, consultants and OR practitioners. It aimed to be an interesting and stimulating publication that would appeal not only to OR practitioners and consultants, but also to managers and others wishing to learn more about OR in practice. It sought to inform about not just the scope and potential of OR, but also developments in related areas.
For many years, I sat on the OR Society's publications committee (mostly as its minutes secretary). I sat through many discussions about the need to make the work of OR practitioners accessible to a wider audience. OR Insight was one of the outcomes. Writers were encouraged to pitch their material to a non-technical readership. The OR Society admired the style found in the American bimonthly ORMS Today, and the aims of the journal Interfaces. (The latter was especially admired during Gene Woolsey's tenure as editor.) Sadly, it was always hard to find writers who could pitch their writing appropriately, partly because it is easy to forget how little the outsider knows about OR, and partly because there was little kudos for writers (academic or practitioner) who published in such a journal. When I retired, I didn't need the academic kudos, and published two articles in OR Insight, trying to get the style right.
OR is always going to be a hard subject to explain to the outsider. Our work is so varied, our expertise is extensive, and our problems are so diverse. The outsider will have to take a leap of faith, or a step in their imagination, to accept that they need OR to deal with their strategic problems. Articles in a magazine may help to convince them, but first they have to read the article. I hope that some of those outsiders have found OR Insight of interest and that some have realised that they need OR in their organisations or businesses.
In due course the OR Society is going to replace OR Insight. Watch this space!