Academic journal

World-class: Kevin So’s research among the most cited in the world

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Media Contact: Terry Tush | Director, Marketing and Communications | 405-744-2703 | [email protected]

Dr. Kevin So is making waves in hospitality and tourism research.

Thus, Professor William E. Davis and associate professor at the School in hospitality and tourism management at the Spears School of Business, was recognized as a breakthrough star with some of the most cited papers in its field and the best articles among its awards and honors this year.

“Dr. So’s publications are a testament to the quality of his work,” said Dr. Ramesh Sharda, associate dean of graduate programs and research at Spears Business. acceptance not exceeding 25%, and top-tier journals generally have an acceptance rate of less than 10%, which shows the competitive nature of faculty publications in top-tier journals and he has been published there many times .”

So was named to the 2021 list of Highly Cited Researchers from Clarivate, a data and analytics company. The list identifies researchers who have produced multiple papers ranking in the top percent in terms of citations for their chosen field(s) published between January 2010 and December 2020, demonstrating significant influence among their peers.

This top percent of the global research community represents magnets in their respective disciplines with 6,600 researchers, representing more than 1,300 institutions in more than 70 countries.

On the elite list, So is one of only 263 researchers worldwide in the social science discipline and one of four Oklahoma State University professors to be included.

“Dr. The same goes for high quality and prolific work,” Sharda said. “He is an extremely hardworking colleague who focuses on both quantity and quality of work, which in turn creates more cited work.”

So’s research distinctions are possible through extensive work in the field of hospitality and tourism management.

“For me, quality and impact are very important. No matter where I go, no matter what institute I work in, these will always be the two indicators that guide my research efforts.”

– Kevin So

Born in China and raised in Hong Kong, So pursued his undergraduate studies in business management, majoring in hospitality management at Griffith University in Australia, graduating in 2009. Of the approximately 5,000 graduates, two students received the University Medal and So was one of them. . In 2010, he continued his graduate studies in Mathematical Sciences, majoring in Statistics and Statistical Modeling at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

He then received three full scholarships for his doctoral studies at Griffith, the world-renowned hotel and tourism management program where he obtained his doctorate in December 2013.

“When I chose my undergraduate major, I took the opportunity to read introductory textbooks in a variety of business areas, including accounting, finance, supply chain, and logistics,” So said. “When I started turning the first pages of one of the best-selling hotel management textbooks, I was hooked. It’s an industry full of excitement.

After graduation and before entering academia, So gained in-depth knowledge of the hotel and resort industry across Australia. He then moved to the United States where he obtained an early position and promotion at the University of South Carolina. While there, he was an associate professor at the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management and a research associate at the SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development. In August 2020, he began his career at OSU as an associate professor.

“I am passionate about conducting cutting-edge research that not only informs the academic thinking of other scholars and students, but also provides compelling industry insight into the world’s largest industry: tourism,” said So . “I’m always intrigued by how consumers react and engage differently with different service companies and brands. The dynamics of such interactions and what constitutes a superior and memorable experience has always caught my eye as a researcher.

His main area of ​​research is at the intersection of hospitality and tourism marketing and service management. Focusing on these industries as a contextual area of ​​his research, he focused on researching global consumer trends and behavior, with particular emphasis on customer engagement, platform business models, the economics of sharing, access-based services, artificial intelligence and service robots. .

So was also recognized for publishing the #1 most cited paper from 2011 to 2021 in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research (JHTR), his 2014 paper, “Customer engagement with tourism brands: Scale development and validation” .

This article conceptualized consumer engagement through a 25-item scale, developed from a survey of hotel and airline customers. The scale includes five factors – identification, enthusiasm, attention, absorption and interaction – which provide tourism professionals with information about a customer’s psychological and behavioral connections to their brand.

The three main and most widely recognized sources provided the citation metrics for this honor: Google Scholar, SCOPUS, and Web of Science. Because sources have different ways of quantifying publications, article numbers differ by source.

Google Scholar reports that So’s article has been cited 561 times and ranks the article #1 out of 748 articles published in JHTR over the past 10 years. According to SCOPUS, the article is the most cited out of 596 articles and has been cited 261 times. Out of 610 published papers, Web of Science also ranks the paper first, with 234 citations.

The second most cited article on all three platforms was cited 100 times less than So’s article.

Winner of the JHTR Best Article of the Year award in 2015, this article has now been downloaded over 15,000 times based on data from SAGE and ResearchGate.

Several articles that cite the 2014 article have now been referenced over 500 times, with one exceeding 1,000 citations. Of these articles, So’s 2016 article, “The Role of Customer Engagement in Building Consumer Loyalty to Tourism Brands,” was cited 558 times.

“The number of citations and downloads are two important indicators of academic impact,” So said. “It shows that other researchers are using and reading our work.”

In the past academic year, So has produced 15 publications and of these, 13 have been accepted into Spears A-level journals.

The hospitality and tourism industry is an integral part of the US and global economy, and its traditional consumption model is rapidly changing with the rise of platform-based businesses, peer-to-peer consumption, and the sharing economy.

These developments in the industry have created new questions from the perspective of the consumer and the service ecosystem as well as in the minds of researchers. Some of these questions include: how can we convince consumers such as older generations who fear using shared services to adopt a new way of thinking and how does this affect players in the existing ecosystem? such as incumbents? Why are they worried? The growing adoption of artificial intelligence and service robots also raises new research questions. What services are consumers willing to let a service bot provide? How do consumers perceive and evaluate dynamic service failure situations resulting from service bots?

These are some of the questions So hopes to answer through her research.

Conducting this type of research has such an impact in part because of the industry itself. Tourists who go out to dinner, use a ride-sharing service or stay in a hotel actively contribute to the hospitality and tourism industry.

So to be on the cutting edge of research, you need to identify where the cutting edge is by being on the cutting edge of the latest literature, as well as understanding why this research is publishable and highly relevant to colleagues.

Therefore, he and his graduate students regularly sit down to discuss the latest published paper to analyze research methodologies, what makes it impactful, and why it is highly relatable or cited.

“For me, quality and impact are very important,” So said. “No matter where I go, no matter what institute I work in, these will always be the two indicators that fundamentally guide my research efforts.

“When I work with my graduate students, I want to instill this notion in them. Focus on quality and impact.